Southwest Florida has come a long way but there is still a lot more to do and rebuild, especially on Fort Myers Beach.
WINK News spoke with the mayor on Friday who said they’re working hard to clear all the debris off the island.
And, while he’s excited to welcome visitors back to Fort Myers Beach, he explained now isn’t the time for people to be visiting.
“Well, we’re doing fine. You know, it’s been an intense month, there’s no doubt about it. But a lot going on since the event itself, and there’s been a tremendous amount of work accomplished in that month,” Murphy said.
Murphy told WINK News, they’re past the initial recovery stage and are in the cleanup and removal process of getting all the debris off the island.
While there’s still a lot of work to be done, they’re trying to power through it all as quickly as possible.
Power continues to be restored in individual homes and water has been restored on the entire island.
Even though residents are allowed back, Murphy said it’s not the right time for visitors to come.
“There are no restaurants to go to, there’s no bars to go to, there’s no beach to go to. There’s nothing for anybody outside of beach people to do down here. And there’s absolutely no reason for them to be down here,” Murphy said. “So, we’re asking that you stay away for now. We can’t wait till the day that we can welcome you back down here with open arms, because that’s what we do. That’s our livelihood. That’s our business. And we can’t wait for that day. But right now, we need our time to clean up, to clean up and rebuild.”
While most of the island is still unrecognizable, the Lani Kai is one of the few landmarks on Fort Myers Beach still standing.
Melissa Schnider is a spokesperson for the Lani Kai and spoke with WINK News about what’s going on.
“As soon as we were able to our staff dove in, it was all hands on deck. It did not matter what department they worked in, whether they were maintenance or housekeeping or kitchen managers, the family members the Conadaris family, everyone teamed up and just dove in clearing debris making a huge dent in the disaster that Ian left on the property,” Schneider said.
And if there’s one thing Murphy wants his people to know it would be…
“Just know that, you know, we’re down here every day, slugging it out for you, and, and we’re getting there, you know, we’re getting there,” Murphy said. “And I think people, people that are down here, they see it, you know, they see the improvements that are happening daily, and so forth. And, and that’s not going to end, we’re just going to keep going, we’re gonna keep going, we’re gonna keep going in.”
Fort Myers Beach has been getting a lot of questions about the iconic town clock that was in Times Square. They said the clock has not been found, but the public works department has been working with the company that produced the original clock for its future replacement.