FORT MYERS, Fla. — Along West First Street in downtown Fort Myers, drivers and pedestrians could see one of the most apparent signs of damage from Hurricane Ian.
Dozens of boats stacked up on the Legacy Harbour Marina, but on Monday the marina appeared to be a different scene compared to previous weeks. Now a crane is hung above the marina and some of the boats have been removed.
"We’re going to get a facelift, it’s sad," sighed David Bowers a Lee County resident. "What’s sad is that they are shredding some of them.”
Bowers said this is a "sad process", but he continues to visit the Marina as much as possible to see the progression.
When driving into downtown Fort Myers, you can see the large crane—and when getting closer you can see patches of grass where boats have been removed.
“Being able to get some of that money back is making us happy, it’s making us feel like are advancing and progressing," said Liz Bello-Matthews, Fort Myers spokeswoman.
When speaking with a local business near the marina and someone with the marina both confirmed multiple boats have been removed.
Previously, Fort Myers Mayor Kevin Anderson and Bello-Matthews noted the difficulty as the boats are private property that washed up on public land. The first step to the boat removal was owners filing their insurance claims and it seems that step of the process is underway.
"Now the Marina has been able to coordinate with the city of Fort Myers to allow those third parties cranes and companies you see coming in here to be able to remove them," Bello-Matthews said.
She said this is the best-case scenario with it being around 4-weeks after the hurricane to start seeing the boats removed.
“We are hoping that that towards the beginning of next year we will be able to have some kind of normalcy, So we can have our opening of the park that we have been waiting on,” Bello-Matthews said.
The city is hoping that the Legacy Harbour Marina will be cleared within the next four months. Bello-Matthews added that in the coming weeks and months, the city hopes to see similar progress with the yacht basin.
"We have been able to get some of the boats out, we are ready to move at this point we are working with the state to be able to tag and identify all of the boats that are sunken so we can have those removed as well."
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) established a hotline for reporting displaced vessels still on Florida state waters because of Hurricane Ian.
The public can report vessels on Florida waters that are displaced or damaged by calling the Hurricane Ian Vessel Hotline at 850-488-5600, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Callers should be prepared to provide the vessel’s registration number, current location, and detailed description.