Cape Coral City Council voted to move forward with negotiations to purchase the old golf abandoned golf course on Palm Tree Boulevard.
Council voted 6-1 during Monday night's meeting, with Marilyn Stout the only member in opposition.
The 175 acres would cost the city $12 million to purchase. The current owner -- Ryan Company -- was planning to build 500 homes on the land, but switched gears and agreed to sell it to the city. The city has discussed using the land for recreation.
"Cape Coral needs more places for it's residents to enjoy the outdoors, and this is one piece of property that should be fought for to become just that," one woman with Save Our Recreation said at Monday's meeting.
"I think a lot of us should sit back and say 'How much money are we going to lose in the future by not obtaining this property?'" one man living in Cape Coral said.
The city's tentative plan for the land includes a community center, gardens, an amphitheater, pickle ball courts, and linear parks. It would cost $13.525 million to develop, not including maintenance and operation.
"If you don't have the funds to buy it out right, I was raised you want to buy something, you pay for it. You save the money, you buy it, you pay for it. Period," Marie Kavanaugh, who lives in Cape Coral, said to the council.
"With the increase in break-ins, etc, I'd rather see more officers than purchasing land for who knows what," one Cape Coral resident said before the council.
Mayor Joe Coviello said the city could take out a 10-year bank loan to pay for the property, or consider partnering with Lee County, using revenue from other projects, or develop public/private uses for the land to generate funding.