The water line of Hurricane Ian’s storm surge is still visible on Marina Village at Snug Harbor, and it isn’t ready to welcome guests back yet. But the people who own timeshares in the building have helped it stay afloat ahead of its planned September reopening.
Marina Village, tucked away on Fort Myers Beach’s Old San Carlos Boulevard, is a place its manager wasn’t sure would ever open its doors again.
“Just very thankful that we’re able to come back,” said General Manager Laurie Russell.
Russell clearly remembers the day before Ian brought over 13 feet of storm surge crashing into the building.
“Tuesday, when we finally got the evacuation notice, four more units had not walked, OK?” Russell said. “Eight o’clock in the morning on Tuesday morning. The evacuation notice didn’t happen till shortly prior to that. We had four more units. I literally had to wake them up and say, ‘You have one hour.'”
Russell had to urge residents to get out as quickly as possible. By midday on Tuesday, she locked up the building and left the island herself.
“You pray for the best, and it certainly turned out to be a lot worse than anyone’s imagination,” Russell said.
The building, unfortunately, was devastated.
“The bar had actually ended [up going] into the ocean,” Russell said. “Yeah, the bar that’s right in there, inside of Snug Harbor, was completely gone.”
Six months after that horrible day, remodeling is underway.
“Eight of our units got blown out, though; literally blew up on the front door and lifted,” Russell said. “These were hurricane-proof sliders on the lanai, and [they] broke away from the wood.”
Even Marina Village’s hurricane-proof doors and windows were no match for Ian. But the windows and doors can be replaced. The people cannot.
But Snug Harbor’s people have stuck around, in a way.
“We’re a timeshare; if it wasn’t for our owners paying assessments to get us up and running, we wouldn’t be where we’re going to be opening Sept. 2,” Russell said.
Sept. 2—nearly one calendar year since Hurricane Ian made landfall.
The good news: Snug Harbor Restaurant is already open and ready to go if you’re ever on the beach and need a cold drink.