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A symbol of hope restored: Sanibel Lighthouse receives a new leg

Posted at 6:47 PM, Jan 23, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-23 18:47:21-05

SANIBEL, Fla. — A symbol of hope for so many after Hurricane Ian, is finally being made whole, as the Sanibel Lighthouse, which is finally receiving its missing leg.

As Hurricane Ian pulled away from Southwest Florida, rumors swirled that Ian's surge took out the Sanibel Lighthouse. But as the sun came up, the lighthouse survived.

"The Lighthouse is part of you,” said. Debbie Armiger, a Sanibel Resident. “If you love Sanibel, the lighthouse is ingrained in you."

The lighthouse was battered and missing a leg, though it remained a sign of hope to so many as the city worked to figure out the next step.

"It was all about finding out the damage that was done throughout the island, not just hear at the lighthouse,” said Eric Jackson, the spokesperson for City of Sanibel. “And once it came to the lighthouse it was getting a structural engineer in here to make sure everything was secure, and it was safe."

Jackson says after that assessment, the missing leg was replaced with a temporary wooden one, but on Tuesday, a permanent leg replaced it.

"It has the same character as the rest of it,” said Jackson. “So, a contractor was selected and made it exactly like the other legs of lighthouse. So, it is going to maintain the same look that it had. It is going maintain that historical value."

Covered mostly by insurance, the leg costs about $200,000 to replace. With a fresh coat of paint for the interior and exterior of the lighthouse it will total closer to $600,000 . But for City of Sanibel restoring the symbol of the island and our recovering since Hurricane Ian, it is worth it.

"This is symbol of Sanibel, if not all of Southwest Florida,” said Jackson. “It's symbolic of the recovery of this island. It symbolizes the resilience of this island."

If you are wondering about cottages that were right next to the lighthouse, the City of Sanibel acknowledges that there is a lot of interest in what could be replacing them. Unfortunately, they are in the very early planning process and could share little details.