CAPE CORAL, Fla. — More than $1 million for new projects at the Cape Coral Yacht Club has been approved even as much of the area is still closed off after Hurricane Ian.
The City Council approved two grants for new restroom facilities and also expanding the beach at the yacht club. That money will be coming from Lee County’s Tourist Development Council.
Some people we heard from say they’re thrilled, but it could be some time before they actually start those projects.
"It’s been great, until Ian showed up.”
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It’s a common sentiment being felt by Southwest Floridians. And at the Cape Coral Yacht Club it couldn’t be more evident as the area has remained closed since Hurricane Ian.
“We haven’t completed our damage assessments there so it will be closed for the foreseeable future until we get out there and assess damage,” said Melissa Mickey, Communications Manager with the City of Cape Coral.
What’s left of the yacht club is a shell of its former self. But tonight, at Cape Coral City Hall, the future of the club took a step in a positive direction with the approval of two grants.
"One of the grants is for extending the beach,” said Mickey.
And the other will see construction of new and larger public restrooms. But getting started on construction hinges on how quickly the city can assess hurricane damage.
"There’s going to be additional things that will need to be determined, how they’re going to proceed with them," says Mickey. "If they’re going to rebuild or replace certain items.”
Something that has some in the cape are pretty thrilled about.
“It would be great to have a bigger beach," said Ben Smaltz. "We walk down to it very frequently and it’s a well used beach. It’s a nice area.”
Smaltz lives just a few streets down from the yacht club. He says seeing the current state of the beach hurts but understands why it’s closed.
"Making sure that it is sealed off, as you can see the fences and law enforcement officers are here doing their jobs," said Smaltz. "Something’s going on in there and they’re protecting the property in there and making sure no one’s getting hurt.”
While it will be some time before the club reopens, Smaltz says he’s pleased with the progress.
"We all have to pull on the rope in the same direction and I feel like, just as a citizen, I feel like I’m feeling that at all the levels and I’m grateful for it. Nobody’s perfect but they’ve done a dog gone good job.”
The city does not have a timeline for the yacht club reopening. They say it will remain closed for the foreseeable future until damage is fully assessed.