They Just Can’t Let It Go


Even though it’s been a dead issue for months, the Fort Myers Beach Anchorage Advisory Committee is still talking about putting a building at Bayside Park to accommodate mooring field residents.

While plans are moving full speed ahead to keep Bayside park a park, some committee members still have a glimmer of hope the park will be the new home for mooring field upland services. During the Wednesday meeting committee member Doug Eckmann said, “not one time during the last council meeting was Bayside Park mentioned. It makes us feel insignificant. The only reason for opposition I’ve ever heard is the building blocks the view.” “It’s creating a view“, he added.

The reason the council didn’t mention Bayside Park at its last meeting is because Bayside Park is going to be a park. The wheels are in motion to spruce up the area with green grass, shade trees and a stage. The building is a dead issue. And, the committee’s been told that on multiple occasions.

It’s been a dead issue since a very big group of people finally found out about the town staff’s plan to build the 3-story view-blocking building and wedge it between two businesses by the water. They organized. They went to a town council meeting. They spoke out against the building. Not a single person who spoke during public comment at that  meeting was in favor of the building. It was 100 percent against.

Vice Mayor Rexann Hosafros, who’s in favor of the building being built at that location, had a completely different take on why the building is a now distant memory. She said the council members voted against the building because “they bent to the pressure from neighboring property owners.” Those council members might disagree with that opinion after the outrage they all witnessed when the public found out about the building.

The building Town Manager Roger Hernstadt and his team were drafting seemed to morph and grow over time, without the knowledge of the town council. The multi-million dollar building, if it was to be built, would have included restrooms, shower facilities and other amenities that the town is required by law to provide mooring field residents. There would have also been town office space.

And, if you were wondering, as of this week, there are 43 boats in the mooring field. There are currently 70 mooring balls that are available for rent anf the town is in the process of expanding that to 89.

Currently upland services are being provided by Matanzas. The contract with Matanzas, expires in a few months. The owners of Matanzas have repeatedly said they are willing to continue to provide the service. Once this contract with Matanzas expires the town will have to put it out for bid.

There are about 5 locations the town is now looking into to take the upland services in house, including one off the beach on San Carlos Island. Every location being looked at has challenges. And, with property hard to find on Fort Myers Beach, and so expensive, it would cost millions to buy land and build a building.

Another option for the upland services: trailers under the bridge. It’s not the preferred option, however, if there are no acceptable bidders for upland services it may be the only option. The trailers would include restrooms, showers and laundry facilities and take 14-16 weeks to get them ready for use.

After looking at the locations still on the table, committee member Bob Beasley said “none of these make sense. We’re down to a bunch of choices that really don’t work.” The Vice Mayor agreed.

Beasley also said, “we might as well sign up again with Matanzas and hope the council will change and come back to Bayside Park.” The next election is more than 2 years away, and by then, that area is supposed to like this picture below…

The new Bayside Park

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