Your New Pier Will Be 4 Feet Wider

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On Tuesday the Lee County Board of Commissioners is expected to approve a $1.18 million contract with consulting company Stantec to design a replacement fishing pier on Fort Myers Beach. Here’s what they plan to replace the old pier with…

According to the 110 page contract between Lee County and Stantec, the design for the replacement fishing pier “will be based on keeping the pier in the same general footprint with a 12-ft wide approach.” The previous pier that was swept away by Hurricane Ian was 8 feet wide.

There is nothing in the contract that states the pier will be longer. The previous pier was 560 feet long. A group of Fort Myers Beach residents would like to see a longer pier (about 900 feet total) and would like the added length to be paid for with Bed Tax funds. It’s unclear what, if any, part of the process the group on Fort Myers Beach hoping for a bigger pier would be able to voice their concerns. 

No more bait house. A shade structure, rather than an enclosed structure, will be placed in the footprint of the previous bait house structure.

Lee County plans to include public input during the time Stantec is designing the new pier. Stantec is required to craft a public information plan and implementation schedule to ensure the community has an awareness of the project. A website will be built to serve as a portal with information about the new pier.

Stantec’s work will begin within 30 days of the Commissioner’s accepting the contract Tuesday. The design phase of the project is expected to take 18 months to 2 years. When the design phase is complete bids will be sent out for a contractor to build the pier based on Stantec’s design so a final product is still several years away.

The original pier was built back in 1930 and last underwent renovations in 1990. On September 28, 2022, the pier and its pavilions were destroyed by Hurricane Ian.

Stantec was chosen to design the pier back in January, however, it’s taken until this month to get the item in front of the Commissioners. Lee County owns the Fort Myers Beach Fishing pier (and Lynn Hall Park).

Lee County says the project will be funded through FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund. If Lee County were to stray too far from the previous pier (plus whatever FEMA allows for resilience), the additional cost to build a different pier would have to come from local funds, not FEMA funds.

41 COMMENTS

  1. Does anyone know if they are planning to charge admission to get on the pier/ or maybe yet to be determined? I hope not, my kids & their friends loved to just wander the pier, see what kind of fish were being caught and then make their way back down the beach..

    • I wouldn’t think so. It’s being paid for from taxpayer money through disaster relief. That would be a big deterrent for families to come watch the sunset, fish and spend money on the beach.

    • Who wants a bunch of fisherman and their dirty buckets on the pier. I never went on it a second time. Should be like the pier in Santa Monica with a restaurant and rides for kids and different music acts and they also have the area farthest out for the dirty buckets of fishermen junk

  2. all who are complaining about not having a pier yet should realize that they had to redo more important things first like getting the electric back.also water ana sewer working again the pier is the las thing to be done with everyone having to start over from scratch

    • I understand there is more important things than the pier. It doesn’t make any sense if the foot print is going to stay the same with additional 4 ft walkway. How does it take almost 2 years to design it? Design has not to do with the actual fisical labor to build it.

      • I have to agree, Walter. The pier was the pull to Time Square and the money people spend. If you try and get a table in a restaurant there it better be before the old pier emptied out! It brought hundreds of money spending sunset watching locals and tourist there every afternoon. And, 1.8mil to just design? For that it should at least have a bait shop/consessions like it did before!

  3. My family went to FMB, the end of March! They took pictures of favorite places that we ALWAYS VISITED! I wanted to cry! Just seeing the devastation, but also the lack of progress ! People just want to sell out and the beach WILL NEVER BE THE SAME With properties being sold to highest bidder! These people got their insurance $$$$and now want to bail out! SHAME ON YOU! This is NOT the FMB we knew!

    • You obviously have no idea what your taking about. Before you bash us do your homework
      Many of my neighbors are heartbroken that they can’t rebuild because of the expense and FEMA rules AND many of us are still dealing with insurance coverages so you have alot of nerve to write such an uniformed rude post. We have all been through enough so we definitely don’t need you and your nasty opinions.

    • You’re obviously not from around here and your comment is delusional. Insurance money? They took that big check and ran? I just can’t! Shame on you for being ill informed! Dumbassery at its finest!

  4. We don’t live in the 1930’s (Empire State building) anymore. We will be lucky to get workers. The people from that time had work ethics, pride in there work and grateful to have a job.
    That being said, we are at Smugglers cove condo and we have also had to be patient. We are also, 18 months to two years out. I feel blessed we can rebuild.

  5. I drew one on a napkin. Can I collect some of that free moolah. $2 million to design a pier. How about drive up to Clearwater ask for their drawing and repeat the process. What a waste of our tax dollars.

    • Perfectly said! My family’s been her since the 1800’s so I am allowed to speak. Almost $2 mil just to design and THEN putting it out to bid? I think the designing/engineering should have been put out to bid!

  6. Ditto my comment to those previously noted: WHY ALMOST 2 YEARS TO DESIGN AND APPROVE A PIER? This makes no sense whatsoever!
    The ultimate problem with this as with any bureaucracy is what can be done about it other than complain.

  7. Guarantee if you took out the government bureaucracy and turned the project over to Margaritaville Hotels & Resorts, the new Margaritaville Fishing Pier would be built in less than 18-months, with a bait shop albeit selling Margaritaville merchandise but nonetheless a project well-done.

  8. Typical Admininistration decision. Let’s shop around and get a design/build company that can design and build in it 18 mos.
    If it takes that long do design it does that mean it will take twice as long to build it. Some of us will be dead by the time it’s complete

    • It’s not a typo.

      Multiple agencies involved, and that timeline is typical for piers. Look at the Naples pier, or the research and info presented by Let’s Go FMB.

  9. No doubt there will be one business that will spring up at the new Square that will have everything the bait shop had… but 18 months is too long. They’ve rebuilt the Sanibel bridge in less time!

  10. Why two years? Good question. I work as a Civil Designer in Lee County. It’s a conservative timeframe, but not too far off for government jobs. They’ll need survey work, they will need to test the ground for pile support, horizontal design, vertical design, storm mitigation design, construction past the Coastal Construction Line. All of this means a multitude of special and specific permits from government agencies. Army Core will probably be involved. That’s what takes the time. Waiting on the agencies to review and approve. Then there’s Lee County that can only meat a certain amount of times a month, to discuss and approve. It’s not the consultant slowing down the process

    • Great response. So many comments from bankers, relators, clerks, secretaries, etc. that have no idea what is involved in commercial/industrial construction. Add in the facts that you mention and the two years is understandable. Working with the government is slow on anything. Add multiple agencies and now it takes 3-4 weeks to get just one RFI back.
      As for build time, working in a maritime environment is time consuming because your workspace is changing by the minute. You can’t build half a wall like you could on dry land and expect it to be standing on Monday when you come back from the weekend. Driving pile in the gulf isn’t the same as driving sheet piling for a seawall on the bay.

      • When the interstate 35W bridge Over the Mississippi river collapsed in Minneapolis, a new bridge eight lanes wide, plus utilities, was opened a year later. If they really wanted to get a new pier, or the new Big Carlos Pass bridge, completed sooner they could. But, This is Florida, and specifically Lee County. It takes them a year and a half to restore a park that is nothing but sand.

  11. Count me clueless but will someone explain why it will take up to two years to ”design” this pier. Seems like with AI technology it could be designed 20 different ways in a MUCH shorter timeframe with substantial savings.

  12. No bait? On a fishing pier; that’s a failure. Moss Marina had the only spot on the island to buy live bait ( shrimp); I doubt they are going to replace it since the LPA rained on their fantastic plans

    • I totally agree with you that a bait shop should be included somewhere on or at the entrance of the pier. Many people used the bait shop daily for spontaneous or planned fishing by purchasing bait and fishing rod rentals. Plus it sold FMB souvenirs , soft drinks, snacks and sunscreen. Fight for the bait shop!!!

      • I’m sure there’s a way to tie in the rental of a pole or admission to the end of the pier where you would fish, including your fishing license. I think it would be a win-win for everyone. It gets even more complicated as some piers don’t allow cast netting for pinfish. They should sell live bait; the fish don’t eat frozen squid. Only we do 😆

    • No bait on a fishing pier ???
      18 months to design ???
      Another case of local & federal govt bureaucracy waste of money and time.

    • Well, that would be a dumb thing to not have live bait, considering it’s a marina with fishing charters. Freeland isn’t dumb.

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