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Cape Coral removing dozens of benches, refurbishing others

Posted at 10:50 PM, Jun 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-09 22:50:03-04

CAPE CORAL, FLA — More than 30 of these public benches, up and down Cape Coral parkway will soon be gone.

Because of this:

"Based on our evaluation use of the benches is limited," said Cape Coral city engineer Bill Corbett.

They're use is limited mostly to what the city's Community Redevelopment Agency calls "nuisance usage," which usually boils down to the homeless making one their bed.

"[So just to confirm there will be] One bench at Milton, one bench at Berkshire, two at club square, all with dividers, refurbished and all 20 trash receptacles refurbished," said Corbett.

The CRA made the call Tuesday to keep only four of those benches. They also voted to add bars in the middle of those benches and others on Southeast 47th terrace, to keep people from sleeping there.

"I think what we see is what other cities are dealing with nationwide," said Cape Coral police chief David Newlan.

Chief Newlan was also on hand at Tuesday's meeting, to discuss the issue. He says his department is working on a plan to address the issues that are leading people to sleep on benches in the first place.

"The programs are there, it's just a matter of bringing it all together and working with the homeless again to get them the things they might need, whether that be permanent housing, maybe counseling, could be some kind of addiction whether it be drug addiction or alcohol, but give them the help they may need," said Newlan.

Newlan says he will unveil that plan at the cra's next meeting on August 4th.