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County set to discuss rebuilding Fort Myers Beach arches

Posted at 8:26 AM, Nov 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-19 08:44:36-05

FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla -- A group on Fort Myers Beach is expected to show up at Tuesday’s Lee County Commissioners’ meeting, in support of rebuilding a piece of history on the island.

Fox 4 first told you on November 15 about a group called Restore Fort Myers Beach Arches who's been pushing to rebuild the historic arches that once served as the gateway to Estero Island.

It's been four decades since the iconic arches were torn down. The arches greeted visitors onto the island for 55 years, before they were torn down in 1979.

The idea would be to use the original remnants to rebuild the arches on Crescent Beach Family Park, a Lee County park.

“It’s a piece of our history, it was always the gateway to the beach,” said Gayle Mason, a volunteer with Restore Fort Myers Beach Arches.

However, Mason added that “it’s very difficult to raise that kind of money, with a small group of people.”

On Tuesday, the group may get the help it needs. It's been working with the county who has offered to fund the project. The item was briefly discussed at Monday's town council meeting and will be revisited Tuesday during at the county commissioners meeting.

Commissioner Cecil Pendergrass said he would like to see the arches resurrected so that future visitors can learn more about the history behind them. However, that vision won't come cheap.

Rebuilding the iconic arches is expected to cost an estimated $75,000. Lee County commissioners say they have a plan to pay for it.

“My goal would be to use tdt funds because it’s public access on a public beach, bed tax money so it would be no cost to taxpayers unless you are staying in a hotel,” said Commissioner Cecil Pendergrass, Lee County, District 2.

"Recreate a small monument of the arches from the original material, so people can go there, take pictures, and visit it, and say this is what it looked like a hundred years ago,” he added.

The county is scheduled to discuss the project during the meeting which is set for 9:30 a.m.