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Town council to consider support of Arches vote

By Staff | Nov 13, 2019

After a vote by the Lee County Board of County Commissioners to fund the Arches project on Fort Myers Beach was postponed, the Town of Fort Myers Beach Council could take up discussion on the proposal to restore the historic gateway at its next meeting Nov. 18.

County Commissioner Cecil Pendergrass had intended to introduce a resolution at the last county board meeting Nov. 5 but pulled it after a question from the town about why the town board hadn’t been consulted.

Town of Fort Myers Beach Manager Roger Henstadt said the town council wanted to be consulted before the county proceeded on funding the project, which would recreate the Arches in Crescent Beach Family Park. The county owns the park, which is at 1100 Estero Boulevard.

The Restore Fort Myers Beach Arches group would like to see the town council vote in favor of the project to boost the project’s chances for being funded by the county. Hernstadt said on Tuesday that he had not yet received a formal proposal by the county for funding the project. Once that happens, he said the item could be placed on the board for discussion.

“If the county is planning to do something, they ought to send somebody down here,” Hernstadt said. “It is the politically polite thing to do.”

The Restore Fort Myers Beach Arches group is asking supporters to show up at the Nov. 18. meeting of the town council. The group has been asking for input on whether the Arches should be perpendicular or parallel to the Gulf of Mexico in Crescent Beach Family Park.

According to the group, there is concern by some opponents that the Arches would obstruct the view of the Gulf but Restore Fort Myers Beach Arches President Steven Ray McDonald said the Arches would only be 15-feet-nine high, which he said is much lower than the old Pierview Motel which is nearby. “It would not block the view of the Gulf from the bridge,” he said.

McDonald estimated the restored Arches will cost approximately $75,000. The Arches will span about 60-feet wide, which is less than the 104 feet of the original structure.

“It’s the iconic gateway to Fort Myers Beach,” he said. If the town council votes in favor of the measure, McDonald is hopeful supporters will go to the meeting of the county commissioners. “We need to rally our supporters,” he said.

The Town of Fort Myers Beach Council meets at 9 a.m. on Nov. 18 at the town hall. The Lee County Board of Commissioners will meet next at 9:30 on Nov. 19 at the Old Lee County Courthouse on Main Street in Fort Myers.