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Cape Coral is a planned city, founded in 1957 and developed by General Development Corporation (GDC). The city's first residents were GDC employees. Cape Coral was incorporated as a town on December 31, 1959, when it had 3,500 residents. It became a city on June 9, 1963 with an estimated population of 645. In the 1960s and 1970s the Cape Coral Police Department was headed by Chief William "Bill" Bailey who later became Sheriff of Lee County until his retirement in 1994. He died shortly thereafter at age 70 from cancer related complications. The 1980 United States Census listed Cape Coral as the fastest growing municipality in Florida; its population had increased to 28,466 between 1970 and 1980.