Those Artistic Street Signs Are Coming Down

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They were the first signs of the beach vibe returning to Fort Myers Beach after Hurricane Ian. Volunteers painted and installed colorful street signs all over Estero Boulevard after the storm destroyed nearly every street sign on the island. However, the Town Manager says they are coming down.

This is an about face from the town which clearly stated 8 months ago that the homemade signs would continue to mark the streets. Town Manager Andy Hyatt told Beach Talk Radio News Monday that the signs will be coming down and they will be brought to the Historical Society where they will be displayed and preserved for “future historical reference.” When Hyatt mentioned the signs would be going to the Historical Society at Monday’s Town Council meeting, not a single council member said anything about their previous stance.

Back in March, when the Town Council approved a nearly $400,000 contract with V&H Construction, to install the new green street signs, the resolution clearly stated the artistic signs were staying: “The community has shown great resilience and engagement by creating artistic road name signs. While these do not meet the legal requirements of road signage, this project is not to remove any existing artistic signs. It is the desire of the town to retain the artistic signs currently erected and to promote continued engagement, creativity and demonstrations of community resiliency in recovering from Hurricane Ian.”

No reason was given as to why they are now coming down.

The new green D.O.T. approved street signs will start to be installed in the next few weeks. The money to pay for the signs will be reimbursed to the town by FEMA.

 

34 COMMENTS

  1. We as artist made these street signs to help the people and looky loos know where they were at. I think it would be cool to do some art project with all the signs that can be preserved for years to come. My sign still looks brand new and all my wood came from hurricane Ian but all pressure treated wood and I sealed it for it to last years and years.

  2. The people wanting to keep the signs are either 1.) people that do not live on the beach and are not even home owners or 2.) Snowbirds that spend 6 weeks per year in a condo that they own that is still decorated with mauve and maroon accent color with mirrors on the walls and outdated white cane furniture. They do not embrace change. 3.) People that don’t live on the beach, don’t own on the beach, don’t live in Florida but are so bored with their lives that they want to pretend they live here on the beach so they bark really loud and annoy everyone.

  3. I agree that the signs should have come down and don’t know why the town would have made a decision to leave them up. Lets face it, the signs weren’t permitted, can be a safety hazard, and many of them with the exception of a few look like crap anyways. They weren’t necessarily made to be outside in the conditions the beach throws at them. The signs can be stored in someplace where the handful of nostalgic people can sift through them for their Ian recovery memories.

  4. The Estero Island Historical Society is a great place to preserve the signs and possibly share with other locations that will be able to share their historic purpose. The signs were the only way we could find our homes for quite a while.

  5. What about auctioning off the street signs? And donating the money? Bay Oaks? Womens Club? Beach elementary? It seems silly to me to keep all of them at the Historical Society.

  6. Why is anyone surprised? Look at who told you that they were going to encase all this “community spirit” in its own kind of shrine, and this is just the beginning.

    When you listen to politicians, you get what you get. The spirit of the island is in the back bay. It’s not coming back, and never will. New FMB is being built by big money, new & more regulations, and oversight on everything. The affluent don’t want wooden, hand made creations, they want a Starbucks.

    I’ll never come back. The place is ruined. At least I was there for the very best of times.

    • You’re right when you say the spirit of the island is in the back bay but most are trying to stay positive and move on. We can all thank Ian for that. It’s your choice if you don’t return. Hurricane Ian ruined the area but it’ll get rebuilt. It’s just going to take time. Try and be positive instead of negative.

  7. New street signs are needed and the old ones should be protected properly, Bay Oaks? More importantly, what about cross walk signs? Season is here, although many fewer people than usual. Street signs are much more important than street signs, especially since we have our home made ones in place

  8. Very disappointed not only that our beautiful Hibiscus Drive sign will come down but that the Town council went back on their word ..so the question is what is next..is this a dictatorship or a democracy ? I say we have both..let residents decide if the want their hand crafted sign to remain and add the new ones…what’s wrong with that? I think we deserve an explanation as to why they are going back on their word..is this their way of wishing the residents of FMB a Happy Thanksgiving? Thought this was the season we expressed gratitude???!!

  9. The artistic signs are a symbol of community spirit and an important part of FMB history. I’m happy to know that they will be going to the Historical Society to be preserved and displayed for future generations to appreciate.

  10. Very disappointing that the Town is not sticking with their word. The people of Fort Myers Beach worked hard to make those signs and the Town’s word should be upheld!

  11. The crafty, handmade signs were awesome and just what the Island needed after Ian. However, it is unrealistic that the wood signs would hold up to our harsh, tropical environment and be durable enough to last long. They belong in a protected indoor location so they can be preserved and enjoyed for future years. Perhaps the town could issue a statement to explain why they are coming down.

    • I agree, we all kind of knew this was a fantastic yet temporary solution. The creativity of these signs was a much needed break from the bleakness at the worst times, however, they would not last long with the elements. I like the idea of saving some and then auctioning others for worthy causes on the island. Maybe turning them into to cute direction signs with arrows?

  12. Good morning,
    We are Mid Island Ian survivors. Our first street sign was a mangled beach chair that I sharpies with our street name. I graduated to a piece of wood that we spent time searching for. It took time and a creative effort to make that sign. It’s served it purpose well but many of the signs are fading and it’s difficult for people who don’t know the island to use the current signs. Having a vested interests I’m hoping in the future they can be displayed at the town hall. Sorry they will not make it at a new pie:(

  13. They were so helpful in the aftermath after Ian. It would have been impossible to tell where you were without them but a more permanent sign is necessary. We need to preserve these signs in some special place so people will realize that when so much was lost we needed to start somewhere to bring something back to the island.

  14. I loved these signs, it was personal and and showed the character of this island, the character that basically has been destroyed by hurricane Ian. The character that we won’t get back. As exciting as it is for improvement and having fresh new places to go to I think it is going to be a beautiful island with everything new that is happening but those signs where just a remnant of what the island was all about. Community, caring,working together. It’s a shame to see them go while so many things are made so homogenous. While there is so much to look forward to it’s sad to see the all personal touches of our mom and pop island go away. Hopefully we as FMB will be able to retain some of the that old character Here and there between the greatness ahead of us.

    • Man is responsible for the destruction of FMB culture -Nature is Gods creation and is an opportunity to cleanse – what FMB becomes will be a direct result of decisions, actions and non actions that are happening daily-
      My 2 major concerns is how easily the TC changes on a whim but even more importantly – There is NO push back -virtually every single issue is unanimous- like a High School Club –
      For FMB to become what residents want , leadership structure and all the people hanging on to their personal fiefdoms needs to stop .

  15. I recall a meeting where they talked about putting them in the new town hall or pier. I would love to see ours mounted right below the new sign on the same pole. It will go bad in a few years though so I am not hugely opposed to displaying them in one of our buildings.

  16. Can’t they do both? Leave the handmade sign but above it place the new “legal” green signs. A promise is a promise. No matter how big or how small.

    • Our street sign was awesome and served us well, but no thanks. They are already weathered and won’t make it long in the sun. New house, new street sign.

  17. I receive a phone message every time there is a boil water restriction. Technology wise, could the town send a message to residents asking if they want to keep the signs and see what the vote is? Or is there a current regulation regarding signs where we don’t comply?

  18. Trust can be damaged by the smallest of things.

    While the current town council and town manager are extraordinarily transparent and forthcoming, such a dramatic about-face from the clearly stated March resolution is distressing.

    Although some might not like the reason the signs are coming down, to remain silent on the reason is disappointing.

    • There will be many neighborhoods/streets, who are ready for the peeling signs to be removed. Plus they aren’t installed correctly/safely, not to become projectiles in a windstorm or thunderstorm.

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