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Beachgoers sound off on new funding that will bring back Southwest Florida's sandy charm

Posted at 11:30 PM, Jan 18, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-19 05:21:35-05

FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. — A big part of Southwest Florida's charm is set to receive some big funding.

Beaches that have been heavily impacted by Hurricane Ian and Hurricane Nicole will be getting some treatment, with money on the way to help renourish them.

Today, Governor Ron DeSantis announced millions of dollars in funding will support beach renourishment. That includes Lee County hot spot favorites like Sanibel and Captiva Islands.

News that is bringing a smile to those who love the water.

"Our hearts just ache for the residents and the people who love Fort Myers.”

On Fort Myers Beach, some beachgoers are still in shock almost four months after Hurricane Ian.

"You can tell there's a little bit of progress made, but there's so much debris and so many other things that just have to be done,” said Jennifer and Cameron Mayhill, who are visiting from Indiana.

What will be done is funding as Governor DeSantis announced a $100 million now going towards beach recovery across the state. With more than $23 going to Lee County and more than $2 million going to Collier County.

"It's just necessary to get life back to normal here,” said Cameron Mayhill.

And there are signs of normal, as people gather for a typical Southwest Florida sunset.

"It's nice to see the resurgence come back. I know it'll be slow, I know it's going to look different, I hope it doesn't lose it's catchiness.”

Sally Gruber and her husband Mark have been visiting Fort Myers Beach for 40 years.

"We have seen the growth over the years, but we haven't seen this devastation.”

The money awarded by the Governor will help go towards building back beaches destroyed or eroded because of Ian and Nicole. Bringing back some much-needed sand to Southwest Florida shores. A move welcomed by the Grubers.

"That is excellent news," said Sally. "I'd be happy to see it bring back this, Sanibel, Captiva, and all back to where they were. They all three have suffered devastating losses.”

The new sand is also expected to provide an improved buffer between storm waves and land acting as a barrier.

"We are big beach lovers and it will be wonderful to see this area come back to a beautiful state," said Jennifer Mayhill.

Keeping these beachgoers hopeful for even more picturesque sunsets.

“I think it'll come back bigger," said Sally. "I hope it comes back better, but I sure loved it the way it was.”