Happy New Year!


Just about every civilization since human beings began marking time has identified when a new year begins and marked it for celebration.

In 46 B.C. Julius Caesar set January 1 as the beginning of the New Year. His Julian calendar was eventually replaced by the Gregorian calendar in the 16th century, but the New Year has begun on January 1 for well over 2,000 years.

New Year’s resolutions have been around about twice as long, thanks to the Babylonians. And why not? A brand new year ahead of us – seems only natural to ponder how this year might be better than the last and what we can do to make that so.

Most resolutions are personal, but we’d like to consider what we wish for our community in 2020. We invite our readers to join us and consider sharing their wishes for our community in the coming year. A few of ours include…

-Progress on downtown development. The first thing visitors see when they arrive is a mostly vacant 6-acre site, where a new resort and water park have been on hold for over a year while a frivolous lawsuit plays out in the courts. We sincerely hope that 2020 is the year that the people of Fort Myers Beach prevail and our downtown is revitalized.

-Continued advancement of the reFRESH Estero projects that include the road, bike lanes and sidewalks as well as water, sewer and storm water projects. The main work area is now south of Publix, where the right-of-way is wider, which helps construction. When driving up island, hitting that finished stretch is a great reminder that the pain is worth the finished product.

-Ongoing focus on water quality. 2019 was a fairly good year in the water quality column, but the memories of a terrible 2018 are strong. We want to trust that we’ve turned the corner on our public officials at all levels understanding the link between water quality and economic survival on a barrier island, but we’ll put it on our wish list just the same.

-Public beach accesses that serve the public, not just the neighborhood. Public includes all Island residents and visitors. Many of them need a public restroom to use the beach. We wish our Town Council would find the courage to provide much-needed public services at some beach accesses, like showers and restrooms. It’s time that the rest of us stop suffering from lack of services because “the homeless will use them.” We know we have a snowball’s chance on this one, but it’s still the right thing to do. We’ll be the first ones to kick in $1K to help fund restrooms at public beach accesses where there have never been any before.


Missy & Bob Layfield