The changing landscape; will Southwest Florida ever be the same after Ian?

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From the landscape to who lives next door, Southwest Florida has seen an incredible amount of change over the past year.

We traveled across the area to ask one simple question as we mark one year since Ian: “Will SWFL ever be the same?”

“Naples is always recovering from all these things. Naples is just a beautiful place to live. Everything’s done beautifully, and a lot of the homes that might have come down, are now being rebuilt,” said Paul, who lives in Naples. “I can’t even believe some of the stuff. I cannot believe the homes that are coming down and the new ones that are going up. It’s really crazy.”

“We just have to accept it and try to work as a team. Rebuilding, motivation and hopefulness in life – that’s my message,” Pauleen Dixon added.

But Jim Carver feels differently. “We’re never going to be the same as we were last week,” stated Dixon. “I don’t know how to define it. Fort Myers Beach will never be the same.”

Housing issues

One issue many people still have to deal with? Housing– or a lack of.

“We lost our rental in the hurricane. Now we are house shopping, but house insurance is through the roof,” said Janine.

Jimmy Melton said, “Eventually. I don’t know. The restaurants seem to bounce back. Trying to find housing is still difficult.”

And a year after Ian, while many have a long way to go, many people remain positive.

“I visited last year, just before the hurricane. I watched it from Connecticut, from the Naples pier cam. I can’t believe how quickly it came, but days later, restaurants were open. After a year, look how far we’ve come,” recalled Heather.

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