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Chamber of Commerce hands out awards, adds board members

February 12, 2020
By NATHAN MAYBERG (nmayberg@breezenewspapers.com) , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

It's a good time for the Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce. This past year, the chamber conducted a third-party audit and declared itself debt-free.

The chamber celebrated at the Mound House Feb. 7 with its second annual Starlight Social, introducing three new board members and recognizing several community members and organizations for their service.

Chamber of Commerce President Jacki Liszak introduced two new members to its board of directors: David Kastan of Salty Sam's Marina and Gail Langner of State Insurance. Langner was also named ambassador of the year by the chamber.

Article Photos

Amy and Tre Gillette, owners of the Tuckaway Cafe.

NATHAN MAYBERG

There were six community awards given out to: The Woman's Club and its president Beverly Milligan, the late county commissioner and former Fort Myers Beach Mayor Larry Kiker (with Paula Kiker accepting), an environmental award to Keep Lee County Beautiful and Trish Fancher, Friends of the Mound House and president Ellen Vaughn, the Outstanding Service Award to Captain Chris Wittman and Captains for Clean Water, and a special recognition to the late Dr. Leroy Hommerding (with Sallie Seabury and Cletus Poser accepting).

Liszak represented the chamber recently at the state legislature in Tallahassee, where she joined members of the Southwest Florida chamber delegation. Liszak said she communicated to legislators issues that were important to chamber members.

"We talked a lot about clean water," she said.

Liszak said Fort Myers Beach enjoyed a "good summer" with the quality of its water after changes made at the state level and by the Army Corps of Engineers regarding releases into local waterways.

Another priority for the chamber was communicating the need for attainable housing.

"We talked about transportation and affordable housing and the need for preserving our resources," Liszak said.

Attainable housing is a "critical" priority for the Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce, Liszak said.

"The rent is so high now," she said. "We have to get creative for workable solutions to attainable housing."

Rents have rapidly increased in the last three to five years in the area, Liszak said.

"It's tough to attract good workers who can stay. It's hard for them to get on and off the island. We have to find good solutions."

Another hot topic for the chambers are discussions on proposed state laws governing short-term rentals. Liszak said her chamber doesn't have a position "but we have quite a few members who are in that business." She said that state legislators are grappling with regulating the industry, which the chambers support, due to concern about localities over-regulating short-term rentals.

With his harp in hand, DL Turner helped shape the atmosphere at the Mound House with some tranquil playing while Jordan Webster Catering supplied refreshments. Also on hand was Empire Entertainment and Photo Booths.

 
 

 

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