Beach a Cash Cow


It is not too difficult to see why Tom Torgerson and his group would think their plans would work. Over the years, every time that changes have been made, making it easier to get on and off the island, just that many more people have come. It’s like nurturing a money tree. A boat runs up under the Matanzas swing bridge during Donna and we get a causeway. Then, along with promotions touting the new scenic by-way, we have more tourists and occasional misdirected commercial traffic coming at us from both ends. So, we widen the road and put up a high rise bridge to ease the flow, resulting in even more visitors and day-trippers.

Ro Roberts was a promoter of another connector from Estero via a new causeway during the 70’s, but the idea was discouraged by Ben Pratt. He advised that even more traffic would inundate the island as had happened with each previous attempt to ease and control traffic and growth. He often remarked that the beach was an attractive nuisance. Make more room, more will come.

What has not changed over the years however; most of the island is residential. All of those properties have the right to access and egress. What is always hounding the freehold residents of this island is the commercial interest of the owners of commercial property, a smaller proportion by area but a larger proportion by loudness. The Beach is the county’s largest cash cow so we don’t want to kill it, but we don’t want it stepping on us either.


Stephen Roberts

Fort Myers Beach