Catalyst for new affordable housing development in Cape Coral

Catalyst for new affordable housing development in Cape Coral

Catalyst Community Capital, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit, in partnership with the Lee County Housing Authority and Revital Development Group, is pleased to announce the recent acquisition of 4.6 acres in Cape Coral that will be developed as a 96-unit affordable and workforce housing community.

The community, known as Civitas of Cape Coral, will offer 1, 2, and 3 bedroom units, all of which will be reserved for families that earn 80% or less of the area median income. Rents will range from $388 – $1,434, including utilities, filling a large void in the market for rental units that are affordable to the working-class residents of Lee County. 

“While one project alone will not solve the affordable housing issue in Lee County, this project is a step in the right direction and will help attract more affordable housing developers and investors to the Southwest Florida market, which should result in more units coming to market,”  stated Joseph Bonora, President & CEO of Catalyst Community Capital.

The $22 million development will utilize local, state, and federal funding, including 4% housing tax credits, mortgage revenue bonds, and $5.6 million in Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Relief (CDBG-DR) funding from Florida Housing Finance Corporation (FHFC). The project also received $300,000 in Neighborhood Stabilization Funds from the City of Cape Coral. 

“We’re excited and eager to get this project built and provide much needed, high-quality housing to Cape Coral’s hard-working families,” said Revital Development Group’s President Michael Allan. “We’re grateful to the City of Cape Coral for their assistance and support, and look forward to working with Lee County Housing Authority to deliver affordable and sustainable housing to the area.” 

In addition to affordable rents, Civitas will offer programs to its residents, including employment assistance and financial management education.  The development team has also partnered with the Boys and Girls Club of Lee County to build a 2,500 square foot club on site, which will offer after school programs and summer camp.

The development team worked with PDS Architecture, Boral Engineering, and NPS Consulting to design the project, which will be ‘green building’ certified under the National Green Building Standard rating system. Construction is expected to commence in early 2021 and will be the first city’s first affordable family housing development in over 20 years.

The Shell Factory Presents FREE Anti-Bullying Event

The Shell Factory Presents FREE Anti-Bullying Event

The Shell Factory & Nature Park will host the CrocaGator National Bullying Prevention Month Event to encourage children to speak up, reach out, and be a friend. On Saturday, October 17th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., FREE admission for kids into the Nature Center! Must be accompanied by an adult.

Activities for school-age guests include:

  • Tie-dying a CrocaGator shirt
  • Sidewalk chalking and poster signing anti-bully pledges
  • Taking pictures with and receiving autographs from CrocaGator Sonny
  • Free slice of pizza for all children that participate (while supplies last)
  • Free Anti-Bullying bracelet with a secret message
  • Viewing a plant project donated by World Farms in Naples
  • Face painting
  • Sitting in on a book reading of “You’re a Bullied CrocaGator” (occurring every 30 minutes)
  • Meeting the “You’re a Bullied CrocaGator” author Kenny Rager (complementary anti-bullying bookmarker)
  • Discounts from The Shell Factory throughout the day

Throughout the day, the Nature Park & Environmental Education Foundation and You’re a CrocaGator will host this FREE family event!  Give a small donation and receive a plant of your choice. Meanwhile, The Shell Factory will provide giveaways and event participation bracelets to all children as well as raffle off a one-on-one encounter with a sloth, under the supervision of a park trainer.

The Shell Factory asks children to wear orange to support National Bullying Prevention Month, as it is inspired by a nationwide campaign that brings bullying prevention to the forefront. Founded in 2006 by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center, it is now recognized by hundreds of schools and organizations via educational and awareness-related activities every October.

For more information, visit Call 239-738-1327.

Cape Coral FOP Lodge 33 Donates $34,000 to Nonprofits

Cape Coral FOP Lodge 33 Donates $34,000 to Nonprofits

The Cape Coral Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 33 has donated approximately $34,000 to Pace Center for Girls, Lee County; Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida; and the Cape Coral Caring Center.

This summer, the FOP President, Sergeant Paul Blanchard, learned about Pace-Center-affiliated students who were in need of Chromebooks for the 2020-21 school year. As a result, the FOP donated $14,000 — enough to buy 40 of these devices for 65-plus girls through program resources. Now, students are able to continue their classes virtually and keep in touch with their counselors as well as participate in virtual field trips, engaging projects and pop-up events.

In addition, Sergeant Blanchard and FOP Vice President Robert Goff presented $2,000 to the Harry Chapin Food Bank. This donation helped the renowned charity purchase the equivalent of $16,000 worth of food, 540 lbs. of which they offered in a single day to families in need.

Last month, the FOP also donated $1,000 to the Cape Coral Caring Center (CCCC). This marked the organization’s 30th anniversary with resources that helped 18,237 Cape Coral residents (5,833 families) and contributed to 188 tons of distributed food.

To complement these philanthropic initiatives, the FOP partnered with a few local churches to provide $17,000 in school supplies to about 85 area students in leau of an annual back-to-school shopping trip. The FOP previously modified this event, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and thanks to their connection to the Cape Coral Police Department Chaplain program.

“The FOP Lodge 33 saw an unanticipated, extra need for key goods. As luck would have it, our invaluable connections with local leaders and organizations made it possible to fulfill that need, despict the obstable of the century,” Sergeant Blanchard said. “We are fortunate to work in such a great community with fantastic support for its public safety professionals.”

For more information on the FOP Lodge 33, visit

Kindness Animal Hospital Hosts Drive-By-Distribution for Free Pet Food

Kindness Animal Hospital Hosts Drive-By-Distribution for Free Pet Food

Kindness Animal Hospital, a full-service veterinary hospital, hosted a drive-by-distribution event on Saturday, May 2, that provided free pet food for pet owners financially impacted by the Coronavirus.

Kindness Animal Hospital provided free pet food to more than 60 families and over 100 beloved furry family members. In the midst of financial uncertainties due to the Coronavirus, the team at Kindness Animal Hospital saw that they could do their part by offering free pet food to help families in financial need. The animal hospital partnered with Hill’s Pet Nutrition and Royal Canin who donated all of the food given away at the event. Local volunteers joined the efforts and provided safe distribution to those that attended the drive-through giveaway.

Serving the Cape Coral Community and surrounding areas has been an important pillar of the animal hospital for more than 30 years. Hospital Administrator Linda Morris stated that: “Pet food banks are limited in Cape Coral, so we felt compelled to assist those in need with a food drive and distribution.” The team at Kindness Animal Hospital want to make sure the community knows they are here to help and fill in the holes for pet care during these uncertain times. “Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have and will continue to provide essential services while social distancing,” stated Morris.

The hospital received another donation of pet food this week. If you or someone you know could benefit from free pet food for your cat or dog, please contact the hospital by phone before May 13th at (239) 393-8370.

For additional information or to schedule an appointment, visit

Antique Carousel Gifted to the Shell Factory

Antique Carousel Gifted to the Shell Factory

The Shell Factory & Nature Park announced that it is the recipient of a generous gift, an antique carousel, courtesy of a local donor. 

The donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, has been a longtime visitor to the Shell Factory and is grateful the family-fun destination could accept the donation and keep the carousel close to home. Located at 16554 N. Cleveland Avenue in Fort Myers, the attraction is now open and operates seven days a week during normal business hours.

Built in the 1920s, the full-size carousel was produced by the C.W. Parker Company. Encompassing a 36-foot diameter, the ride boasts two chariots and 20 painted horses and travels at three miles per hour. For the young and old alike, the three-and-a-half-minute ride is accompanied by calliope music and gives riders the magical experience of taking a stroll down memory lane. The cost to ride the carousel is $1 per person.

A true labor of love, all Shell Factory & Nature Park employees had a hand in helping to restore and repair the carousel prior to assembling it on the property. Much of the time spent painting, sanding and retrofitting was on a volunteer basis.

“We are truly blessed to be the recipient of this generous gift,” said Pam Cronin, owner of the Shell Factory. “I attend the IAAPA show every year and marvel at the spectacular three-story carousel on display. We look forward to sharing the ride with our visitors and the local community for years to come.”

For more information, visit Contact at (239) 995-2141.

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