FORT MYERS BEACH

Developers of Art Margaritaville Resort in Fort Myers Beach held a groundbreaking ceremony Friday morning as they put the final beam atop the $200 million project.

This is a milestone for Margaritaville as well a significant step toward rebuilding Fort Myers Beach after Hurricane Jan. It’s been a 3 1/2 month journey for local residents, from picking up thousands of pounds of trash to delivering the first FEMA trailer, numerous visits from state, city and county officials working together to rebuild this city, and the beach is finally open again. Yang destroyed a lot of people’s memories in Fort Myers Beach, but during the recovery, people told WINK News, “We will rebuild.”

Long before last hurricane season, people were excited about Margaritaville, but now word of the resort’s development has taken on added weight.

“I think everybody’s just ready,” Fort Myers Beach resident Brenda Schmidt said. “I mean, it’s been really hard for everybody, and they’re excited to see the progress that’s being made.”

“We haven’t been back at all, so I’m really excited to see what’s open here and walk around and see what’s left, really,” said Cape Coral resident Christina Rudau.

Fort Myers Beach and Lee County also used the opening ceremony in Margaritaville as an opportunity to celebrate and celebrate businesses that have reopened since Jan or plan to reopen soon.

As for when Margaritaville will open, “I know a lot of the media has been asking us when the opening date is. So I’m here to tell you honestly… It’s… We don’t know,” said Robert Kissabeth, Chief Operating Officer of TPI Hospitality. “[Friday] is the decoration of the building. And what that means is the completion of the structure.”

This is a visual confirmation of the achieved progress.

“It just shows the human ingenuity, the creativity,” said David Cesario, vice president and general manager of Margaritaville’s opening.

“To recover, we need to stimulate our economy by bringing our visitors back so they can spend their dollars at our local businesses,” said Tamara Piggott, director of the Fort Myers Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The business is a resort with 254 rooms and five restaurants, and “What makes us special here is our people, and their passion is contagious,” Piggott said.

This was no more evident than when Jackie Lishak, president and CEO of the Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce, welcomed all Fort Myers Beach business owners to support her and show how hard people are fighting to keep their livelihoods. .

“Really what that means for the structure of the building is that they’re covered and they’re dry. So a letter is coming as we speak. Plumbing, electrical, whatever,” Kissabeth said.

In Fort Myers Beach, progress, effort and beauty are still available to all.

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