Recovering community in Englewood feels forgotten after Hurricane Ian

Reporter: Taylor Wirtz Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:

One neighborhood in Charlotte County still appears like Hurricane Ian just happened, with large piles of debris on every corner.

Many people living there are in trailers and RVs, waiting for help, and they just want the place to get cleaned up finally.

Piles of debris and homes exposed with their walls ripped out, it’s hard to believe, looking around the area, that Hurricane Ian hit SWFL nearly seven months ago.

“We have been left behind here,” Englewood resident Donna Nashawaty said.

Those trying to rebuild homes devasted by the storm say it feels like jumping through a never-ending series of hoops.

“Why doesn’t this county give us some break after this tremendous disaster,” Englewood resident Peter Houghten said.

Houghten finally had his new home delivered, but it’s still sitting in his yard, waiting to be put on its foundation.

“It seems like every time they submit something to Charlotte County, it’s not right. They have to go back and redraft it and resubmit it…it’s been seven months now. And then that’s been sitting in my yard for two months now, waiting,” Houghten said.

“I’ve lost 20 pounds over this just from stress,” Houghten said.

Nashawaty said the endless piles of debris rising up around the neighborhood are another problem entirely.

“It’s one thing to see an empty lot. It’s another thing to see the piles of debris everywhere,” Nashawaty said.

Charlotte County Director of public works, John Elias, said the piles are due to a few different issues, one being contractors.

“What we feel is happening here is that contractors are out there pushing all this stuff to the right away when in fact, they should be responsible for picking it up. They should have a dumpster. They should do all the things that a contractor is required to do through the permit process,” Elias said.

But neighbors said they feel the county could do more to help.

“It’s a real downer. It really is. But it just feels like we’re forgotten here,” Englewood resident Bob Dunlop said.

Elias told WINK News the goal is to meet with neighbors in a day or two and hear about the issues they’re facing and see if any more of the debris is eligible for county to pick up.

If you have any questions call the Charlotte County Department of Public Works at 941-575-3600.

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