Boats stuck since Hurricane Ian being removed from Centennial Park area

Reporter: Emma Heaton Writer: Emma Heaton
Published: Updated:

Boats that have been stuck since Hurricane Ian are in the process of being removed from a messy yard next to Centennial Park and Joe’s Crab Shack.

It has been nearly 600 days since Hurricane Ian struck, yet the damage lingers.

Large pieces of debris sit idle across the street from Steve B’s Waterfront Cafe Biergarten.

Fort Myers Mayor Kevin Anderson clarified that the Legacy project, which involves demolished buildings, is separate from the boat removal near Joe’s Crab Shack.

The mayor mentioned that the cleanup efforts have been a real challenge due to the complexity of dealing with boats, which are subject to maritime and regulatory laws.

Anderson hopes the cleanup will expand Centennial Park and lead to new developments. He noted that the cleanup process has been slow due to various challenges, including insurance companies and bankruptcies.

Anderson mentioned that the goal was to have the boats removed from the area by July 11th, but clarified that it was not a hard deadline.

Ultimately, the mayor said insurance companies are responsible for the removal of the boats.

However, he noted that tracking down the owners to pay can be challenging. State and federal governments have provided some funds to help with the cleanup efforts.

Steve Brantner, the owner of Steve B’s Waterfront Cafe, works right across the street from the eyesore.

Steve opened the cafe 13 years ago and describes it as a place for music, karaoke and sometimes standup comedy.

The cafe was hit hard by Hurricane Ian, impacting business, especially boat customers with all the damage to the marinas.

Despite the challenges, Steve remains optimistic and feels it is important to stay positive and look forward.

Eric Wishart works downtown and passes by the eyesore every day. He believes it’s got to go and hopes it turns into something the entire city can be proud of.

A spokesperson with the city said there is no fine if boats are not removed before the goal date of July 11th.

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