Times Square on Fort Myers Beach is the welcome mat for the island. It’s one of the first areas visitors experience when they come over the bridge. Beach goers congregate in that area first because it’s within walking distance of cheap parking, restrooms and local restaurants.
14 months after Hurricane Ian destroyed nearly every building in Times Square some property owners have done nothing to clean up their property. The biggest – and most dangerous property – continues to be the Pierside Grill property. Mangled rebar and massive chunks of loose concrete remain piled up in the corner lot overlooking the beach.
There was a time, many months ago, when debris could have been piled up at the side of the road and removed, at no cost to a property owner. That time has long passed. It’s now the responsibility of property owners to remove their debris and pay for it themselves.
To date, according to town staff, not much has been done to push the Pierside Grill property owner to clean up. About a month ago, after a post we made on Facebook showing the mess, Mayor Allers made contact with the owner and the next day a flimsy orange fence was put up with several no trespassing signs. That fence is not preventing curious visitors from climbing over it or going around to an open area of the property and taking pictures and video.
This Town Council is now fed up with the lack of cooperation from the property owner and at the council meeting yesterday staff was directed to start issuing code enforcement violations on the property owner.
Councilman John King said “They’ve had enough time. It’s time for us to move. We’ve been very lenient in that area and it’s time to act.”
Council member Karen Woodson is concerned about the safety aspect of that area with fireworks returning to the island next month. The fireworks display will take place on a barge not too far from that spot and the town is expecting a very big crowd, especially with Margaritaville open by then.
There are other areas on Times Square which property owners have not fully cleaned but none is as bad as the Pierside Grill lot. Mayor Allers said they need to start taking responsibility.