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Fort Myers Beach residents fed up with violence around Lani Kai Island Resort

Posted at 7:49 PM, Aug 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-04 19:49:10-04

FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. — People in Fort Myers Beach want to put a stop to violence in the community after a man was killed outside the Lani Kai Resort.

During a town council meeting Monday, several residents urged council members to take action in finding a solution.

"There is one common thread I've heard from constituents since the shooting at the Lani Kai; that is, enough is enough," said council member Jim Atterholt.

One of those residents pushing for more to be down is Dawn Thomas.

"What am I asking you to do? One idea is to start a nuisance abatement board," said Thomas during Monday's meeting.

Thomas lives just yards away from the resort and says she's fed up with the crime in that area.

"It was devastating that it showed that in the last year and a half since, January 2019, they had 1,345 police calls," said Thomas. "When we walk by there, you'll see anything from throw up, garbage, drug paraphernalia, we've seen needles."

Thomas says the nuisance board would set up rules and guidelines for businesses to follow in Fort Myers Beach.

But Lani Kai says it has already been implementing positive changes following the deadly shooting that happened outside the resort last month.

"Our family immediately sat down with officials and said 'what can we do for this to no longer happen out here again," said Melissa Schneider, a spokeswoman for Lani Kai.

Some of those changes include: only guests of the hotel will be able to walk the property wearing guest wristbands after hours, zero tolerance for trespassers, and setting up a "do not rent list."

"If we do have any guest that causes any type of altercation at all, any type of damage, to the room or the property, they will be put on a do not rent list," said Schneider.

While the resort is working toward adding additional safety measures, Schneider says the north end of the island where the resort is located has always been a bustling area.

"With that sheer amount of people, of all walks of life, it's sad to say some sort of altercations will happen," said Schneider.

While some council members expressed doubts about the efficiency of the nuisance board, others said it's a step in the right direction.

"If nothing else, it'll put people on notice that behavior that has gone on in the past will no longer be tolerated," said council member Dan Allers.

Fort Myers Beach Council will be discussing a nuisance ordinance at their next meeting on Thursday, August 6, 2020.

As for Thomas, she says she hopes Lani Kai follows through with those safety implementations.