Earlier this week, Lee County Commissioner Ray Sandelli brought a motion to the full board directing staff to develop an agreement with the Town of Fort Myers Beach and Restore The Arches to reconstruct a portion of the arches that were once the gateway to the island.
The motion was approved unanimously by the Lee County Board.
Right now two locations are being considered, both on Lee County property. One location is a beach access in Lynn Hall Park. The other is a beach access at Bowditch Beach.
Back in February the Fort Myers Beach Town Council approved a resolution to support those two locations for a portion of the old arches to be reconstructed.
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 30 foot arch is approximately $40,000 according to the Restore The Arches organization, although Lee County has not provided them with an official estimate yet. The group has said it will pay for the entire restoration project and the county will build it. So far the organization says it has raised about $2,245.
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.