Senior Citizens all over Fort Myers Beach have their calendar’s marked for the upcoming Public Information Meeting scheduled on Feb. 22, 2016 at 5:30 to 7:30pm at the Bay Oaks Recreation Center.
They will be arriving at 3:30pm to make sure they get a good seat, up-front, so they will be able to repeat over and over ” we do not want any changes”. Probably 3/4 of them will be snowbirds who only live here for 3 months out of the year. Yet they will have the biggest voices. Why? Because the rest of us will be working and won’t be able to attend.
Take a good look at these pictures in this group of photos. What kind of demographics do you think these types of places attracts? Are these establishments places that you are proud to have in your backyard? How much revenue do you think is being generated from this level of businesses? Do you think that the revenue will be able to support infrastructure improvements Fort Myers Beach so badly needs? The answer is NO!
Take a look at every other island on the Gulf Coast of Florida and you will see some are upscale, some are quaint and eclectic artsy towns, but all are fun, well maintained, safe and hustling, bustling areas. They are all focal points that are cherished by all the residents and businesses enjoy the constant flow of tourist and local dollars that are spent on a daily basis. They controlled the quality of the businesses allowed to open to encourage locals and tourists to want to come out and spend their money and support the local businesses.
Fort Myers Beach failed at this and failed severely. Who felt it was a good idea to allow yet another liquor store? How many liquor stores does a small island need? Who thought it was a good idea to allow biker bars, tattoo shops to open? How about Hooters? Who felt Hooters would add a classy vibe to the island?
It was these decisions that were made, to let allow these low class places open, that have made the island get to the point it is today.
Look at these pictures of other islands and you tell me, which would you rather have in your back yard?
So as businesses in FMB fail, windows boarded up, and signs display “lease available” know that this is a failing town. The “no change” mantra is not working.
Maybe we all need to realize that the crumbling pipes, closing stores, degraded roads and lowered demographics is not going to help our property values. Having shirtless drunks, wandering from liquor store to liquor store, is not going to help the image of this island. We need help and we need it fast.
I would think we would be better off supporting Grand Resorts and welcoming them as well as thanking them for their efforts to invest in our crumbling town.