Representatives from The Restore the Fort Myers Beach Arches organization met with Lee County Parks & Recreation Director Jesse Lavender this week to discuss the future of the arches after a $20,000 donation from the King Foundation last week gave the fundraising campaign a big boost.
Restore the Arches President Steven Ray McDonald says Lavender told him if the total amount of money needed to build the arches is raised a draft contract will be written up in May of 2022.
As of today, approximately $42,000 of the $53,000 needed to reconstruct the arches has been raised. Lee County has agreed to install a smaller version of the arches on the beach at Bowditch Park. Fort Myers Beach Town Councilman Jim Atterholt and Lee County Board members Ray Sandelli and Cecil Pendergrass have been very supportive and helpful in the effort to reconstruct the iconic arches.
The King foundation has also pledged to match dollar for dollar any amount up to $10,000 that the organization raises at its 2022 music festival. Maxing out that opportunity would certainly put them over the amount they need to construct the arch.
McDonald says another way to help push the organization toward the $53,000 is for people to donate bricks which would be customized with your name on it and added to the construction under the arches. Get more information on donating a brick HERE.
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 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.