Let’s Go FMB is Working on a New Pier Plan

21
153

Allen Shanosky has been a Fort Myers Beach resident since 1999. Four generations of his family have lived on the island and fished off the Fort Myers Beach pier. Allen has a special connection with the pier, which makes him a perfect person to sit on the Let’s Go FMB pier committee.

The Fort Myers Beach pier was demolished on September 28, 2022, when Hurricane Ian battered it with high winds and ferocious storm surge for hours. One Fort Myers Beach’s iconic landmarks, the perfect spot to watch the sunset, was smashed to pieces.

The pier belongs to Lee County. It’s one of several pieces of property the county held onto after Fort Myers Beach incorporated back in 1995. Lee County also owns Lynn Hall Park, Bowditch Park, Crescent Park and Estero Boulevard. With about $12 Billion worth of damage done all across Lee County, it’s unknown when the county will replace the pier or where it fits into their priority list.

Fort Myers Beach residents are starting to get a bit louder in their desire to see the pier replaced now that it’s nearly a year later. Lee County Commissioner Kevin Ruane said on Beach Talk Radio several weeks ago that it would be years before the pier is replaced. So far there haven’t even been discussions on what a new pier might look like.

This week at the Resilient Lee meeting at DiamondHead, Chamber President Jacki Liszak stressed the importance of the pier to Assistant Lee County Manager Glen Salyer. “The pier is a critical part of Fort Myers Beach. I cannot tell you how important it is to get the pier back and get it back fast.”

Salyer’s answer made it clear that the discussions between the town and the county, about the pier, haven’t even started yet. “What kind of pier does the town want? A Basic pier, or a pier integrated into a new Times Square?

There are so many challenges in the Times Square area right now. In addition to Lee County owning Lynn Hall Park and the pier, the town owns the former road that goes through Times Square from Lynn Hall Park to Estero Boulevard. And, there are multiple business owners along the square who either have their property up for sale, or are waiting for the town to start planning on the future of that location. In addition to all that, the town is trying to foreclose on Terry Persaud’s Sunset Grill property.

Brody

That brings us back to Allen Shanosky, who, along with his wife Cynthia and their dog Brody (pictured here) have been traveling up and down the east coast of the United States visiting piers to try to understand the process and report back to the full Let’s Go FMB organization.

They’ve been looking at the size of piers, gathering information on what they cost and how long they take to build. Allen plans to put all the information together for a presentation no later than October. He also hopes to include some rendering suggestions. “My vision of the pier is to be able to have the history of the beach co-exist with fishing, tourists and resident.”

21 COMMENTS

  1. A Go Fund me Page so that all the Residents, and friend of FMB can contribute and make another Pier! Lee County owns the Pier! The residents that reside in Lee are really Lee! Lee works for the residences! If everyone gave alittle, you will have the millions fairly quickly!

  2. Traffic has always been the problem for FMB — and we thought replacing the swing bridge would improve traffic flow. 🤯
    LEE County owns the road — I assume the Matanza Bridge as well? County needs to pay for the Pier. So the County could charge to cross the bridge — doesn’t need to be the $6.00 like the Sanibel Causeway. Stick-on Sun Passes can be easily purchased at Publix etc. That’ll cut down on bridge traffic, encourage use of the Trolley and bus options (tho they need a designated lane on San Carlos LEADING to the bridge) with a reasonable monthly/annual pass for residents — or zero for property tax payers. The formerly quaint downtown is now a jumble of signs for this and that and the hideously installed parking meters that have taken parking from 0 to $2 to $3 and now a ridiculous $5….but now FMB needs the money since Ian visited. With all the new hotels (Pink Shell expansion, Moss Marina Arches, Margaritaville, and Marriott) the numbers are gonna skyrocket. Lee County can pay for the Pier NOW and recoup from bridge crossing dollars. Charge only for Matanza Bridge OR add another automatic toll apparatus by the dog park just north of Hickory Island. The State and County taxes on hotel guests with these significant room increases coming our way will more than pay for a Pier and much more.
    So once the pier is paid for add a lane to San Carlos (take space from the mangrove side of San Carlos since the mangroves took such a beating with boats and trash). It USED to be a just a two lane road so it’ll just be a slight widening from the current five lanes.
    Plus, Lee County will be totally flush with tax dollars once the new FMB rises like a phoenix.

  3. I suggest having the large hotel groups pay for the pier rebuild as a condition for getting a permit. Pink Shell, Moss Marine, Margaritaville, Marriott, others are big name and well financed operations. The pier is a part of their customer experience . Corporate accounting could make the investment either a capital expense or a donation of , say, $3,000,000 each.

  4. My wife and I have been visiting Fort Myers Beach at least 3 times a year since we honeymooned there in 2001. We feel so at home there and are devastated about what has happened. I know we are not the only people that have been this loyal about spending all of our free time there. I do believe that if a donation fund was put together and promoted the proper way that it would raise the money needed to build a new and even better Pier. It may be owned by Lee County but I really don’t see them declining the help to pay for the project.

    I know there is a ton of work organizing something like this. It would involve lawyers, accountants and so many more people just to ensure that all money collected would be used for the sole purpose of rebuilding the Pier. I would go further to say just for assurance that you don’t get blamed for mismanagement of the funds that a public record be posted on the Pier project showing how the money is being spent.

    I know this would be a huge job to manage the entire process, but I am also sure that it can be done.

  5. Have you checked out the Pompano Beach Family Pier they rebuilt a few years back? It’s soooooo beautiful there! How about a FMB pier gofundme page where visitors can contribute to….just a thought.

    • The Naples pier is $20mil to rebuild. You think a GoFundMe would raise that for FMB? Not to mention the pier is owned by LeeCo.

  6. How about a tourist funded pier. If just half of the hundreds of thousands of snowbirds, tourist families that claim to love Ft. Myers kicked 5 or 10 bucks into a very open, transparent, fund, we could rebuild the pier and feel as though we helped just a little bit.

    • Clearwater beach pier is wonderful also. They have vendors that set up and sell
      Their hand made goods one or two nights a week. A fishing pier think it’s a buck to go out to the end. But in a the end doesn’t the county own the pier?

  7. The Pier is an iconic FMB landmark
    To bring tourism back to the beach it’s rebuilding should be a priority for this area. Not only will it bring back fishing but tourists who will see it as Beacon of hope for the community and others who want to invest time and money into FMB

    • Exactly. Same goes for the clock. They have a new one built and ready to go, but I guess they need the green light from the city officials before they can install it in its original spot.

  8. Don’t be surprised if the county privatized the pier.
    Visitors will be forced into a usage fee..just saying .
    This happens along many coast.

  9. Thank you for doing this Allen. It’s amazing almost a year later in the county hasn’t even touched the dilapidated bathrooms in Lynn Hall Park.

    • Typical of Lee County. They have lost a large part of their cash cow! They are too busy building roads in Leigh and could care less about FMB!

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here