Frequently forgotten Fort Myers Beach area still devastated by Ian

Reporter: Michael Hudak Writer: Paul Dolan

Recovery efforts continue at Fort Myers Beach in the wake of Hurricane Ian. But some of the hardest-hit areas might be out of the line of sight.

The North side of the island, if you make a right at the base of the bridge instead of a left, is still living in a world of both progress and pain.

Do you notice, while driving to Fort Myers Beach, the way the road curves at the foot of the bridge? Because of the design, you may be eager to turn left, but on Tuesday, WINK News turned right.

Damage from Hurricane Ian on Fort Myers Beach. CREDIT: WINK News

“Every time I do that drive from the south of the island to the north end of the island, I cry,” Darla Uran, who moved away from the North side of the island, said.

“I hear this word ‘Resilience’ all the time. Just… okay, we’re resilient. But it still hurts. It still hurts bad,” Uran said.

While Hurricane Ian is long gone, it hasn’t left Uran’s memory for a single day ever since it hit Southwest Florida.

“My whole kitchen,” Uran said while crying. “It just took everything! My car!”

What Darla Uran’s home looks like after Ian. CREDIT: WINK News

You can hear the pain in her voice because she used to live on the North side of the island.

“I’m … displaced,” Uran said while continuing to cry. “I’m still trying to find a place to live.”

But that’s more easily said than done. She has no home, no job, and nowhere to go.

“They say it gets easier. And I’m glad it gets easier for some people,” Uran said. “But there are others here. Me. Us.”

But all things come to an end eventually.

“Things have been started, guest rooms are coming online, we have about 60 rooms online,” Gary Lee from the Pink Shell Beach Resort and Marina, said.

Lee showed WINK News 60 rooms that aren’t all used for guests; rather, they will be used for FEMA assistance.

“For FEMA, so the folks that have been displaced. Those folks are, you know, taking shelter here while they work on their homes and, you know, get their situation taken care of,” Lee said.

The Pink Shell Beach Resort and Marina. CREDIT: WINK News

Anywhere from 55 to 60 displaced families, through FEMA assistance, are living at the Pink Shell Beach Resort and Marina as of Tuesday.

Lee didn’t have a timetable for opening it up to all guests, but when WINK News was inside on Tuesday, it looked great.

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