On Monday the Fort Myers Beach Town Council approved a motion that shows support for two possible locations for a portion of the old arches to be reconstructed. The two locations being considered are both on Lee County property on Fort Myers Beach. They are the northern most beach access in Lynn Hall Park and the northern most beach access to Bowdich Park.
Lee County had asked the town council to let them know if they were supportive of any locations to rebuild the arches.
Town Councilman Jim Atterholt said both locations “are not so overt and not too hidden.” He called it a nice balance. Atterholt has been working with Lee County Commissioner Ray Sandelli to resolve the issue.
Fort Myers Beach Mayor Ray Murphy commented, “I wish Lee County was more interested in our opinion on Big Carlos Pass than they are on the arches.”
The letter of support will be sent onto the Lee County Board of Commissioners who will decide what, if anything, to do with the idea. The Restore the Arches group would be responsible for all costs if a plan to rebuild the arches is ever approved.
There are 17 stones from the original arches remaining, about 1/3 of the original structure. That amounts to 60,000 lbs of stone. The estimated cost of replacing a 30ft Arch is approximately $40,000 according to the Restore The Arches organization. The group has said it will pay for the restoration project. The county will build it.
The arches welcomed residents and visitors to Fort Myers Beach, where the Matanzas Pass bridge now sits, from 1924-1979. When they were knocked down to construct the new bridge not all the pieces were saved. Those that were are now in storage.