Oct. 7, 2022- The Town of Fort Myers Beach, in partnership with the Fort Myers Beach Fire District, has confirmed a phased access plan for residents following Hurricane Ian to begin Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022.
The access process will include only bus transportation to the town and will begin with addresses north of Times Square only.
“I want to be very clear, there is not a single structure that is unaffected in the town,” said Fire Chief Ron Martin, “Every single structure is considered unsafe until they are inspected and that inspection is verified. Anyone choosing to take advantage of this phased access is doing so at your own risk.”
“I know you all want more than what we’re giving you today. I know you not only want to put eyes on your homes, but you want to start your recovery. However, because of the numerous challenges that exist in the town, this access plan is designed to only provide an opportunity for you to see the damage to your properties and collect necessary belongings,” said Mayor Ray Murphy.
Beginning at 5 a.m., residents can park at the access Welcome Center located at LeeTran Park and Ride, 11101 Summerlin Square off of Pine Ridge Road, Fort Myers Beach, FL, 33931, and get in line to board buses beginning at 7 a.m. The buses will make multiple trips onto the town along Estero Boulevard and make stops every 500 feet. Buses will continue making in-bound trips, and out-bound trips if desired, until 1:30 p.m., then the buses will only be taking out-bound trips off of the town back to the Welcome Center until 5 p.m. Multiple trips from the town to the Welcome Center will be allowed.
Bus access will only be granted to one homeowner per address and one additional person. Homeownership will be confirmed through a check-in process at the Welcome Center to include verification with county property records available on www.leepa.org that should match identification documentation provided by the homeowner. Once confirmed, residents will be provided with unique identifier sheets, color-coded for allowed days of access. Access will be phased southward in two-day increments as debris management efforts and USAR operations allow.
Residents should be prepared to only bring items that can be carried on their person like tote bags and backpacks and items that can be contained in those objects. Firearms and hazardous materials including but not limited to generators, fuel and batteries of any kind are prohibited.
Be prepared for a challenging infrastructure environment—there will be no power to energize equipment and there will be no running water for drinking, cleaning, bathing, or utilizing toilets. To be ready for these conditions, you should consider bringing bottled water or other hydration sources. Please avoid contact with flood waters, rivers, or gulf/bay waters to prevent exposure to unknown physical, chemical, biological, and/or bacterial pollution in the waterways.
“We hope residents understand the limitations that we still face and why this plan is what we believe is the best and safest opportunity for the town and its residents at this time,” said Martin.
“We are hopeful that we can expand not only the areas that are accessible, but also the manner of access within two weeks,” said Murphy, “But we want residents to be clear that the phases are controlled by the progress of debris management and the effort to locate our friends and loved ones. So we ask for everyone to remain patient with the access process and the town’s overall progress toward recovery.” said Murphy.
For questions, contact Town of Fort Myers Beach Public Information Officer Jennifer Dexter at 239-470-1090.