It took just six months for area businesses and the community to come together to make a city-wide bike route a reality in Cape Coral.
Many people and businesses chipped in to create a system of more than 90 miles of interconnected cycling routes within Cape Coral in about a quarter of the time that was expected.
Two sections of the route have complete funding to allow the engineering of the project to proceed, while the other four sponsored sections are close to reaching its goals.
"This happened much faster than anyone thought it would. I thought it would take two years," said Carolyn Conant, president of Cape Coral Bike-Ped.
The Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce has already raised the funds to mark the Chamber route with distinctive signage, while the Team Aubuchon Route has fully funded four miles in Southwest Cape Coral.
This means the city can now conduct the engineering drawings and have the signage up in a few months, depending on when construction begins. Conant said
Physicians' Primary Care sponsors a 30-mile section of the route that will circle northern Cape Coral, committing $5,000 toward this route as one of its first sponsors.
The Cape Coral Community Foundation has also funded part of the route, as has the city's Parks & Recreation Department sponsoring the Yacht Club Spur.
Steve Pohlman, Director of the Parks & Recreation Department and Steve Neff, Director of Public Works, have been the liaisons for this volunteer project.
The foundation is expected to have its complete funding shortly, as is the Cape Coral Construction Industry Association, which approved sponsoring a section of the route early on in the planning.
CCCIA president Moe Beneke said about 80 to 90 percent of the 61 signs have been sold in two months.
"Anything that's good for Cape Coral is good for the CCCIA. It gives us an image of a health-conscious city," Beneke said. "Many people up north look for that kind of thing. That we're invested in our community."
The Cape Coral Public Works Department is in negotiations with Lee County Department of Transportation concerning marking the Veterans Route, which goes from Lee County pathways onto city share roads with distinctive route signage.
Cape Coral Bike-Ped is asking Lee County to provide the signage as a contribution in hopes the Lee DOT will place these signs on the county pathways and the city will place them on city share roads that are part of interconnecting these Veterans' routes.
Conant said she is stunned that in less than six months, the community rallied behind the effort.
"This is a great community. People really pull together when something as worthwhile as this needs to be done," Conant said. "It's going to make a tremendous difference. It's attractive to tourists, it improves quality of life and economic vitality."
The ultimate goal of Bike-Ped is to make Cape Coral a premier cycling destination, increase tourism and improve the quality of life for its residents.
To donate online, go to www.CapeCoralBikePed.org or send your check made out to Cape Coral Bike Ped to Carolyn Conant , Cape Coral Bike-Ped, 2616 SW 51st Street, Cape Coral, FL 33914.
For more information, call 851-9737 or e-mail them at info@CapeCoralBikePed.org