MATLACHA, Fla. — Some in one southwest Florida community say they're not happy with the City of Cape Coral's plans, and they want their voices heard.
Protestors gathered at the Matlacha Drawbridge Sunday to protest. They say don't support the city's plan to acquire and build upon a six-acre stretch of the island.
The Matlacha Civic Association sued the city in 2017 to prevent the annexation. A judge ruled in favor of the MCA, but Cape Coral still pushes forward in trying to prove they can legally acquire the land.
Dozens of people came out to express their frustrations with the City of Cape Coral. “We’re bringing awareness that we will not tolerate creeping westward by Cape Coral,” said Karl Deigert.
In a statement, the city says it's looking to improve the boat ramp and parking on the island; it's also considering a private partnership with a restaurant.
Long-time resident of the Matlacha community, Johnny Glisson, says that there is no need for change. “We want to keep it what it is. Its old time Florida and we want the main roads to stay there we don’t want nothing built, we’re not trying to build there we don’t want anyone else to,” said Johnny Glisson.
Robert Dundore is afraid that possible changes will lead to the island losing its charm. “We don’t have room here for this, it’s an island you can only cram so much in here. We’ll lose all the romantic parts...the palm trees the coconut palms and the wildlife here.”
Rosemary Greer says she fell in love with the area years ago as a snowbird, and just recently made the permanent move. “The friendliness of the people the water, look at the skies, look at the temperature, what’s not to love,” says Rosemary Greer.
This resident would rather enhance the elements of Matlacha that make it a paradise. “I rather see more musical bands out here on the edge of the docks having a good time, that’s why we live in paradise,” said Alexa Groth.
Following the protest, the Matlacha Civic Association and other community members will further voice concerns at the Cape Coral city council meeting.