Donations are pouring in for a new community park to be built by Cape Christian Fellowship, which plans to build the first Cape Coral amphitheater, provide children a safe place to play, and more.
The proposed 100,000-square-foot park could also include a splash pad, multiple children's playgrounds, sports and multi-purpose fields and common areas, officials said, adding they are still going through the permit process.
Phase One will be under way this week - the Fountain Project - with a goal to do a lot in a short period of time.
"We're trying to condense several months worth of work into several weeks. Target date to open the park is Easter weekend," said lead Pastor Wes Furlong.
"It is a multi-phase process, with the first phase opening at Easter."
Construction will be under way, but they remain in the permitting process, step by step.
"But we will still be moving ahead," he said.
Of the big plans for this park, the goal is to benefit the City of Cape Coral.
"We're looking forward to the space being used by the city that can benefit families in the city both day and night. It (the amphitheater) will seat up to 6,000 and be the first amphitheater in the city."
City officials were delighted when they first took the idea to them, he said.
"I think it is an excellent idea," said District 3 Councilmember Lenny Nesta this week. "It's good for the neighborhood, for the children, and I think they (the church) will be responsible to their neighbors, such as in noise and other issues. It's better to have kids in the park than on the streets."
Donations have been flooding in, said several pastors at the church. They will be tallying those contributions this weekend.
"The church is currently in the process of building two large digital signs, 6.5 by 9.5 feet each, that will highlight the park's amenities and enhance future events that the city is promoting. These signs will also be finished before Easter," said Pastor Chad Woolf.
"As a part of being a church 'for the city' we are also celebrating our 25th birthday on April 1. This includes raising 25,000 canned and non-perishable food items for CCMI (Community Cooperative Ministries Inc.), two months supply for them. The park, this food drive, and our campaign in the community, are all part of the same mentality to reach families in Cape Coral."
The drive will take place all morning, 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m, and there will games and activities for children, officials said.
The park also will feature, if approved, a fully interactive play area. A video can link you to the site - youtube.com/watch?v=YVIjCSRNuZU,
The "Extreme Makeover" now will include the construction of a huge fountain, a covered courtyard, and a seating area near the fountain.
The church has doubled its membership over the past five years, said officials in a written statements, and rather than pursue a traditional church building campaign, Cape Christian Fellowship is engaging its congregation to raise approximately $300,000 for the more than 100,000-square-foot park. They are also seeking private funding sources to raise an additional $500,000 to fund the amphitheater, restrooms and sports fields.
The church-owned property includes a parking lot with more than 700 parking spaces, restrooms facilities and lighting for such evening events and activities as Taste of the Cape, Jazz on the Green, concerts and school assemblies.
Cape Christian is at 2110 Chiquita Blvd. S. in Cape Coral. The 25-year-old church is home to more than 1,400 members and guests who attend their contemporary worship services each weekend.
For more information, view capechristian.com or call 772-5683.