It’s one of those buildings on Estero Boulevard that is a vivid reminder of how Hurricane Ian decimated structures on Fort Myers Beach on year ago. The popular church located right next to Town Hall boasted nearly 100 members pre-Ian. What’s the plan for the church moving forward?
One year later Chapel By The Sea has been untouched. Wires are still dangling inside the building. Pieces of the concrete floor are sunken in. Weeds are starting to creep up around the outside of the building.
Tom Means is the co-chair of buildings and properties at the church. He tells Beach Talk Radio News that the church is still working with an architect and contractor to see if the building can be repaired under FEMA’s 50% rule.
If repairs cannot be made, the congregation will have to decide if they want to knock down the buildings and build a smaller church, perhaps selling off a few of the lots they have around the church. Means says they are a month or two from making any final decisions.
Means says he’s been told that the structure is safe, that the foundation, beams and steel are all sound. One estimate the church received for repairs was about $3 million. The church was insured and they did very well with their insurance companies, according to Means.
There are now about 25-30 members of the Chapel By The Sea congregation that meet weekly at Cypress Lake Presbyterian Church on McGregor. Means says there is still a solid group of people from the church that are planning to have some kind of presence on Fort Myers Beach.