Friday, September 29, 2023

Hurricane Ian aftermath: The struggle to rebuild a community in Fort Myers Beach

Photos by Retiring Guy (3/14/2023)

Governing, 9/29/2023
Clocks also represent and register the passage of time. A year is a long time, but for a community that took the kind of hit Fort Myers Beach experienced, it’s not nearly long enough for things to resemble anything like normal. After the storm, there was an initial period of relief and gratitude for survival. But soon the community entered into a long stage of uncertainty from which it has yet to emerge. “The one-year mark can be really hard psychologically,” says Bill Veach, a member of the town council. “People feel like they should be farther than they are, which is really hard.” 
Fort Myers Beach and its neighbors have received enormous amounts of help from the federal government and the state, along with private charities. Lee County officials spent last month taking public input from residents about how to spend a $1.1 billion housing grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The county still has to prepare an action plan explaining how it will spend the money. It’s sobering to realize that New York is still dealing with an equivalent HUD grant more than a decade after Superstorm Sandy struck in 2012, says Lee County Commissioner Kevin Ruane.

Spending 3 hours with Chasing Denver

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