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Could be years before Cape Coral Yacht Club is fully restored

Cape Coral Yacht Club.jpg
Posted at 3:51 PM, May 05, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-09 08:35:09-04

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — The Cape Coral Yacht Club is such a special place to so many here in the Cape since it opened in the 1960s, but the force of Hurricane Ian closed the club.

Whenever it opens again, the yacht club will look very different, and it could take some time. Fox 4 has learned the Yacht Club is likely a few years away from getting fully restored.

“After the storm every single building suffered more than 50% damage, because of the 50% rule we have to rebuild to the current building codes and current elevation,” said Cape Coral District 3 District 3 Council Member Tom Hayden.

Council Member Hayden also says that means demolishing those buildings.

The city says bidding for that contract will likely be in July, with demolition planned to start in September, pending FEMA approval. But Council Member Hayden says, given the history of the buildings he would like to see some parts of the buildings preserved.

“I reached out to some of our older residents to walk through that building with staff, and with me to determine what we can save and possibly incorporate into what we build,” said Council Member Hayden.

When asked what he would like saved, Hayden listed off the beams, the fireplace, chandeliers and other items around the stage.

In regards to the new Yacht Club, the city says it is currently reviewing the design scope. However, when considering approval, design, and permitting, it could take anywhere from 9 to 12 months to just start construction.

“This is going to a methodical process we still have to wait for FEMA to finish all their inspections so we can determine reimbursement,” said Council Member Hayden. “So, to open the Yacht Club back to a tremendous destination place for the community it is going to take years.”

What could be a part of that new yacht club? Hayden has a few ideas as a “rebuild” also means another look at maximizing the space

“There is a possibility that we build a ballroom, where big events can happen,” said Council Member Hayden. “A small room, for other events to happen. Possibly extending the parking garage, because we know parking is a priority out there. We didn’t have enough before because of all the people that were there."

Not every building will come down, the Boathouse Restaurant can be saved and is planning to reopen in time for the Fourth of July holiday. Public Works is clearing the parking lot of debris, and the parking lot lights are being repaired. Temporary fencing and signs for closed amenities are in place, with adjustments pending for the Boathouse opening.

As for the Yacht Club Beach, it remains closed as the city prepares the beach for opening, which requires raking the landside beach, raking the waterside beach, and refurbishing the beach with new sand. State and/or Federal Permits are required to perform the beach work.

The existing restrooms, two pavilions, and the playground will be removed. The city plans to have portable toilets on site for the beach opening, which is anticipated for Aug. 31, 2023, pending approval of the permits for beach cleanup and all other tasks are completed.

However, the public boat launch will stay closed until at least September, as it is being used for derelict vessel removal.

The City also told Fox 4 that the new Yacht Club design will include seawalls, a boat ramp, as well as a marina. They also hope to have the full plan completed in the next few months.