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A look at Times Square and the progress thus far in 2023 post Hurricane Ian

Posted at 6:26 PM, Jan 02, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-02 19:52:17-05

FORT MYERS BEACH, FLA — 3 months after Hurricane Ian and we can already see progress being made on Fort Myers Beach when it comes to some businesses trying to open back up whether that's through using a food truck or trying to place tables outside of their business with grills to try to serve people and get back to some sense of normalcy.

I've spent quite a bit of time on Fort Myers Beach covering the devastation and I can say first hand progress is being made.

Shortly after the hurricane, I interviewed Tom Houghton, the Owner of La Ola Surfside Restaurant who's business was ripped aware by Hurricane Ian on September 28th. After the hurricane he was quick to move a food truck in to make sure he could get his employees back to work and has been making more progress ever since.

Lori Fisk-Bittner works at La Ola Surfside Restaurant and survived the hurricane while staying on Fort Myers Beach. She told me she lost everything expect the clothes on her back and is happy to be back to work here in Times Square in 2023 adding, "I think it’s a great sign actually I think it’s great that it’s some sense of normalcy. The support has been overwhelming I don’t even know how to thank all the people that have helped us it would take me the rest of my lifetime so it’s very overwhelming but good."

Part of the floor was painted back to that baby blue within the last week as well as chairs placed outside to welcome regulars and tourists back.

Linda Gaines visiting Fort Myers Beach from Kansas City told me she comes here every year... "It’s wonderful to be back down here it’s a sense of hope it’s a beautiful day I mean it’s good it’s really good."

"I don’t think people realize how much it took from all of us and how much it weighs on us every day — you have a good days you have bad days so we have to keep together," says Lorie.

"There’s a lot of signs of hope — every building and people doing what they can and that’s a good thing — community coming together to try to make the best out of a really tough situation right," adds Linda Gaines.

Tom plans on having live music daily of course weather permitting.

This is just one of many stories of hope we continue to bring you with ongoing follow up coverage of the rebuilding here in Southwest Florida.