Fans of the Cape Coral Yacht Club have learned that it will take between three and four years to complete the post-Ian rebuilding process.
This news is upsetting to many who love to be at the club. This isn’t the sound neighbors of the club bought their homes to be around.
The “no trespassing signs” aren’t improving their spirits, either.
“This is basically a gem and main attraction of Cape Coral,” said neighbor Angelina van Genderen.
But the Cape Coral Yacht Club has been unapproachable since Hurricane Ian struck. The beach area is closed, neighbors are locked out and there is no sign of a reopening date posted anywhere.
At a waterfront advisory meeting on Thursday, Cape Coral revealed that reopening won’t happen anytime soon.
“We basically have to rebuild from scratch,” said Councilman Tom Hayden. “It’s just going to take longer, and it’s not really something you can do in piecemeal.”
Neighbors like van Genderen are unhappy about that long timeline.
“The more they’re dragging it, it’s going to cost more money,” van Genderen said. “I don’t know their economics. But it’s devastating.”
The City of Cape Coral is been working with FEMA to help alleviate some of the rebuild costs. But Hayden says that the process is difficult. The Yacht Club falls under the 50% rule, meaning the damages exceeded the cost of repairs. Therefore, the city must rebuild it up to current hurricane standards.
“It’s something we have to be patient with,” Hayden said. “It’s something we need to make sure that, for resiliency and for other efforts that need to happen out there… that we do it the right way.”
People living near the Cape Coral Yacht Basin want the city to take away the signs and give them back access to the beach.
“People keep coming here, you know, looking for the place to just sit down, decompress, you know, like let the stress out,” said Angelina Van Genderen.
This week neighbors learned they wouldn’t get that stress relief here anytime soon.
“It shouldn’t take this much time. It really shouldn’t,” said Van Genderen.
Van Genderen has lived near the Yacht Club for 10 years. She feels the city isn’t taking into account how this timeline will affect neighbors seeking an escape from Ian’s devastation. “We really need to go get in the car and drive to, you know, Naples. Fort Myers Beach is out of reach too. Sanibel is recovering too.”
Councilman Hayden said he knows it’s frustrating. The city wants to ensure safety for everyone looking for waterfront access, which isn’t possible right now due to equipment.
The silver lining is the Boathouse Restaurant will reopen soon, and the city is considering some other amenities too.
“There’s ways that we can do it, open it in stages, we will certainly look at that,” said Hayden.