When Hurricane Ian leveled Fort Myers Beach on September 28th, the wind and water were so powerful nearly every street sign was dislodged and destroyed. Weeks later colorful hand-made signs began popping up. Eventually the beach residents creating the signs had them up on every street.
Now the signs are the talk of the town.
Interim Town Manager Keith Wilkins thought the signs were so cool that one day when he was riding his bike he took a picture of every one of them and plans to write a book about them.
Thursday on our Facebook page we asked the question; ” As the island rebuilds should the hand-made street signs stay or go?” As you can imagine the response was overwhelmingly in favor of keeping the signs. In just a few hours we had over 320 comments.
Sandra K. Ostbye wrote, “These hand painted signs have suddenly become an interesting part of our colorful history. They define exactly what everyone here is hoping to retain after Ian and the resulting massive destruction. They are funky, creative, fun, have an artsy charm.” Jen Mathis also wants them to stay, “Sonething about those signs made me know all was going to be ok…at some point. ” The same goes for Camela Robinson Daniels. “Those signs represent a story of survival and resilience.”
If, in the end, government decides to go against the wishes of the people, and the signs are deemed to be in violation of some code, at the least they should be collected and saved in some historical way on the island with a story about each street written by a resident underneath it.
A street sign may seem like such a small thing in the grand scheme of a complete community rebuild. However, at least for now, they appear to be shining a bright light down every Fort Myers Beach road littered with destruction.