Fort Myers Beach home, business owners can return to island on Sunday

FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. (WBBH) – Nearly two weeks after Hurricane Ian’s historic and devastating blow to Fort Myers Beach, town leaders are ready to allow owners to return to the island.

On Saturday, only people with properties north of Times Square were allowed back on the island and were asked to take a bus across the Matanzas Pass Bridge.

From Sunday, anyone who has property, rents or is on the island for a legitimate purpose will be allowed to return.

The town of Fort Myers Beach decided on October 1 to close the island to allow search and rescue personnel to complete their response. A total of 29 survivors were found, including one as recently as Thursday.

“In this kind of debris, it’s nothing short of miraculous,” said Assemblyman Bill Vitch. “I’ve heard that 80-90% of the buildings on the island will no longer be habitable.”

If you choose a street on Fort Myers Beach, you can walk down and see home after home destroyed or badly damaged by Hurricane Ian.

“It’s one of dozens of streets,” Veach said.

Sunday will be an eye-opening experience for families and business owners, to say the least.

Here’s how the town plans to re-enter owners:

  • Owners located between the Big Carlos Pass Bridge and the Beach Theater on the southern tip of the island, or between Times Square and Bowditch Point Park on the northern tip of the island, can enter from 7am.
  • Properties between the Beach Theatre and Publix can be accessed after 8am.
  • Properties between Publix and Town Hall can be accessed after 9am.
  • Properties between City Hall and Times Square can be accessed after 10am.

“We just want to get people on and off as efficiently as possible,” Veach said. “We don’t want to have an argument with everybody and their mother at 7am because all you end up doing is waiting anyway.”

It’s a chance to grab what you need and even see what it takes to rebuild instead of moving back. While the town can’t stop you, there’s nothing for you on the island.

no water. No power. No food. And not for quite some time.

“And it’s going to take a long time to get these things going.”

Longtime residents like Mike Carran Jr. All this is not needed. After all, he lives in heaven.

“It’s heaven. Just a little left turn,” said Karen Jr. Say.

From the second flood of his beach house, there was not even a trace of the natural disaster outside.

“It’s comfortable. No, it’s my home. It’s home,” he said. “This is where I’m staying. This is where we feed our family.”

He was involved for a long time. How did he do it?

Daniel: “Did you go camping?

Gauge: “I have”

Daniel: “Well, here you are. You got the answer.”

Unfortunately, he is the outlier here. Many homes now look like MP Veach’s: almost none.

But don’t get me wrong. He and many other islanders are working to build a new beach from the rubble. It may not be what we know, but it is certainly something we will learn to love.

“Everyone loves trendy Fort Myers Beach. Old beach shacks, old little restaurants, that sort of thing,” Veach said. “Unfortunately, Ian washed out the funk a bit. We’re going to have to find a way to recreate something to keep it interesting.”

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