Anchorage Advisory Committee Member Bob Beasley is not happy the town council ditched its plan to construct a three-story building in Bayside Park for mooring field residents. In fact, the entire committee says the town council made a mistake with one member saying the council gives in to special interest groups.
The discussion about the big building next to Nervous Nellie’s came up again last week after The Harbor House HOA told the town it did not want their building to be used for public restrooms. The town was negotiating with Harbor House to purchase two condo units for upland services for mooring field residents. Upland services include an office, a place to wash clothes, showers and bathrooms. And, being the town would own the condos, the rest rooms would have to be open to the public. That’s a non-starter for the Harbor House HOA.
With the Harbor House negotiations at a stand still, and a contract with current provider Matanzas set to expire, the discussion circled back to Bayside Park, property the town already owns.
Committee member Bob Beasley said the town missed the boat by not putting the building there. The town owns the property, he said, they should use it. “Of course the owners of Snug Harbor and Nervous Nellie’s want to have a beautiful park so their customers can enjoy it and eat dinner there. Sure, that would be great, but they’re doing that at the town and residents’ expense and the mooring field’s expense.”
Beasley said that park location needs to be considered again. “The bottom line is I really think the town council should go back and look at this again. Unless you want to spend $10 million you are never going to find commercial property on the waterfront in a commercial area. You probably couldn’t even at that.”
That’s when Vice Mayor Rexann Hosafros jumped into the conversation and told Beasley he was preaching to the choir. “The (town council) vote was 4-1. I was in favor of placing it there all along. I continue to believe that would be the best place for it. It’s not going to happen. The council changed. Three new members were elected. And they received a lot of public outcry and I think they are cemented in their positions based on what I’ve heard them say. But, I agree with you totally.”
That when Beasley said “that is really a stupid move on their part. That’s ridiculous.”
Other members jumped in and agreed with Beasley that the council should take another look at it. Committee member Greg Holmes said, “It was just a few commercial people that made the big outcry and got a couple of people upset over it. I think you need to take another look at it and you’ll find a lot more people will find it’s a great place to have it. It’s going to be a nice image for the town to have a nice building to welcome boating people.”
Hosafros told the committee that from the number of e-mails she and the council received, it was not just a couple of businesses. “I got a couple of dozen. She told the committee members to contact the other council members directly.”
Committee member Mike Ratliff added, “I have watched this community since Hurricane Charley. Nothing gets done. And, a lot of times, it has to do with special interest groups with very narrow objectives who get the attention of town council members. Then we don’t do anything and we make some pretty bad decisions for the future of our community.”
The Town of Fort Myers Beach currently operates a 70-slip mooring field east of Matanzas Pass Bridge. The town is hoping to expand the mooring field to add 19 additional moorings west of Matanzas Pass Bridge accommodating vessels up to a length of 85 feet. The town is waiting on a permit from the DEP. Committee member Ratliff said, “If we cannot provide upland services, I see no reason to go ahead with the expansion of the mooring field.”
Mooring ball rental fees are $18/day, $103.00/week or $312.00/month which includes taxes.
The final Bayside Park proposal is expected to go out for bids in April. The final design does not include the building. It includes a stage, a lot of grass and shade trees.