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Officials celebrate Lafayette Street project

February 18, 2014
Pine Island Eagle

Lafayette Street, at least a half-mile stretch of it between Vincennes Street and Cape Coral Street, in South Cape, has been revitalized by the CRA district and the city's storm water pilot program and streetscape enhancement just completed last month.

City officials, CRA members, city staff and other dignitaries attended a ceremonial ribbon-cutting Tuesday afternoon to celebrate the project's completion. City Councilmember Rena Erbrick, and CRA chair, cut the ribbon just before 5 p.m. in front of the CRA building.

"The project was initiated by the CRA," said Cape Coral Public Works Director Steve Neff. "It's a pilot program, so we are hoping it will spread throughout the CRA. That's the goal. Feedback has been positive so far."

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City Councilmember Rena Erbrick gets ready to cut the rubbon to celebrate the completion of the Lafayette Street storm water and streetscape enhancement project Tuesday afternoon. Among the city officials and dignitaries attending the event include Mayor Marni Sawicki, City Manager John Szerlag, several other council members and city Public Works staffers who worked on the CRA project.

The $1.5 million project broke ground in August. The stormwater system is the foundation of the project and not only drains water away, but treats it through an exfiltration system much like a septic field.

"The water percolates into the smaller pipe, and then into a layer of rock before going into the soil," said Neff. "There is all new curbing, parking with bulbouts and new trees as well as paver stone sidewalks."

Root systems of trees that were along the roadway were partially responsible for breaking up portions of the pavement and sidewalks, creating a blighted appearance. Neff explained that the bulbouts help slow traffic and make the area more pedestrian friendly. Decorative lighting similar to that on Cape Coral Parkway will be installed in the fall.

The project was funded mostly by city stormwater utilities money as well as a contribution from the CRA for the street enhancements.

Neff thanked his staff for its work on the design as well as Bill Edwards of Avalon Engineering and contractor Frank Gibson of Denco Inc.

Other city officials attending the event included Mayor Marni Sawicki; Councilmembers Jim Burch, Lenny Nesta, John Carioscia and Richard Leon, and former Councilmember Marty McClain.

Neff hopes the project spurs other businesses in the CRA district to make enhancements in front of their buildings, but perhaps owners will get together and help raise the funds to do entire blocks at the same time. Any business owner who improves the streetscape individually would have to put up 75 percent of the cost with the city kicking in the other 25 percent, Neff said.

"We've already got interest from other areas who want theirs done, too," said City Manager John Szerlag.



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