Town Incorporation and Steele Recognized


Beginnings & Endings

The Town of Fort Myers Beach Council recognized two accomplishments during its “Local Achievements & Recognition” portion of its May 15 Monday morning meeting.

The first was for the Town itself, as a group from the original 1995 Fort Myers Beach Incorporation Committee presented Council with a plaque to commemorate the achievement.

In making the presentation to Council, Sherrie Smith recalled that the committee “laid the groundwork to incorporate by meeting every week for a year-and-a-half, campaigning by going store-to-store and door-to-door, and writing the Town Charter, as we believed it was time for Fort Myers Beach to govern itself to independence from Lee County, so we hope you place this in this Town Hall in a prominent area as a remembrance of this accomplishment. A few of the people from the original committee have passed on, and many more moved away, but some of us are still here to present this to the beach today.”

town incorporation, fort myers beach, island sand paper, james steele
Town Council with members of the 1995 Incorporation Committee.

The Incorporation passed by a thread-bare 174 votes in July 1995, after 6 previous defeats dating back decades. “I want to thank you for changing my life forever,” said Council member Anita Cereceda, who served as the Town’s first mayor. “I was with you the first time I hear heard the phrase, ‘comprehensive plan!’ You all will be remembered always in this community,” with Council member Joanne Shamp adding, “We will try not to mess it up for you!”

A few minutes later, Mayor Dennis Boback called former Interim Town Manager James Steele to the podium. Jim stepped into that role in early June 2016 and is now in a transitionary consulting role to new Town Manager Roger Hernstadt until his retirement on Thursday, May 25. Council, joined by the audience in a standing ovation, presented Jim a Resolution and commemorative plaque for his service.

“We want to express our appreciation to Jim,” said the Mayor. “Jim Steele is one of the best things that ever happened to this Town! He stepped up to the plate when we really needed him and did a great job.” “Your strongest feature is your humility,” added Cereceda. “You are such a humble man, with such extraordinary talent, and that is a rare combination. Thank you!”

“Thank you very much,” responded Jim. “This is unexpected. Keep in mind, I will be back in Town in the fall to keep an eye on you guys!”


Gary Mooney