In reading Letters to the Editor in the last Sand Paper, I was struck by a persistent theme: a reluctance to change, from looking at the new Grand Resorts proposal to moving the Farmer’s Market to Bay Oaks. Why do we fear change, when it might be for the better?
Change has always been a big part of Fort Myers Beach. Ever since the U.S. Government granted a 171-acre homestead to the Gilbert family in 1897, the island has been constantly changing. Some change has been bad, such as damage done by hurricanes, but much of it has been for the better – building many things we enjoy today.
We are currently experiencing change in the painful construction of Estero Boulevard, but we’ve been assured it will result in an improvement. I think this pain has made us a bit wary of other changes being proposed, especially the plans of Grand Resorts. But, like Estero Boulevard, improving the downtown area with nice hotels may bring big benefits, including better traffic flow.
Twelve years ago this area was devastated by Hurricane Charley, and most of the properties there are isolated or vacant. Even the little Crescent Beach Park is just a temporary placeholder for a better use. Someone from out of town told me he would not choose Fort Myers Beach for a vacation because it was hard to find nice accommodations, and it wasn’t an attractive place to stay. Looking at the downtown area as it is today, it’s hard to disagree.
As we contemplate the new plans of Grand Resorts in the open process afforded to us by the developers and Town Council, I’m hoping we’ll be patient and withhold judgment until they are complete. Then we can see how well they benefit Fort Myers Beach.
Fort Myers Beach