The Fort Myers Beach town council is having one heck of a time finding a location to bring upland services for the mooring field residents in house.
The mooring field is where boaters tie up their vessels in the water when they come to Fort Myers Beach. Upland services are where the boat owners go for a shower, to use the bathroom, do their laundry and dispose of trash.
The town currently operates a 70-slip mooring field east of Matanzas Pass Bridge and is in the process of expanding the mooring field to add an additional 19 moorings west of Matanzas Pass Bridge accommodating vessels up to a length of 85 feet.
For many years, Matanzas, at the end of Old San Carlos, was providing upland services for the mooring field residents. The town is now renting space at the Harbour House on Old San Carlos to manage the mooring field with some services still being provided by Matanzas. Residents check in by using an app. The town’s goal, for years, has been to take all the services in-house.
Back in 2021 the town was very close to building a three-story building to accommodate the mooring field residents in Bayside Park. That plan was nixed when both residents and businesses in the area came out in force and objected. Bayside Park will remain a park, and, in fact is getting a nice face lift to the tune of about $1 million. The project to rehab the park began several weeks ago.
That short history lesson brings us to the location now being considered.
This week the town closed on a piece of property (right) behind town hall that it was able to purchase for $1 million. To get to the property mooring field residents will have to boat through a canal that goes through the backyards of residents that live on Tropical Shores Way. And that’s where the town is running into resistance on this location.
Larry Abramoff lives on Tropical Shores Way, where he’s lived for 7 years. The canal goes right through his backyard. Abramoff says there are about 18-20 homes on his street and the majority of them are opposed to the facility being built at this location. “It doesn’t make sense to us. It changes the nature of what we bought. This is our backyard. They are making it a highway.”
Town Manager Roger Hernstadt estimated that about 10 boats will go through the canal every day.
Abramoff said when the mooring field increases to 89 those numbers will go up. He told Beach Talk Radio News that the town seems to be rushing this. “It’s hard to make a good decision under the gun. This was a rush. It should be deliberate and in the best interest of the entire community.”
Abramoff also said the canal is narrow and shallow and will most likely have to be dredged to accommodate the boats. There has also been some discussion of trimming some of the mangroves.
No decision has been made to put the facility on that land as of yet, although that was the main reason the town purchased it. All in this is a $3 million project. The town will be applying for a $1 million grant to help fund the project.
The Anchorage Advisory Committee is meeting on Wednesday, March 16th at 9AM to discuss the design (below). We will carry that meeting live. The town council will discuss what to do next at its March 21st meeting. We will also carry that meeting live.