FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. — White sandy beaches are a sight often associated with Southwest Florida, but outside the Leonardo Arms condos, that sight has been replaced with orange tape, sandbags, and warning signs. It's a concern for those who live and work nearby.
"I’m thinking like, this building might wash away. I think people in here are concerned about that," said one property worker. “People enjoy it, and they’re about to get their stuff washed away. So it’s kind of like heartbreaking to see this.”
It's a concern, too, for Ranger Rob Howell, a local environmentalist who says he's seen erosion like this continuing to pop up.
In this case, however, he agrees the consequences could be major.
“The seawalls need pressure on both sides, and if something starts falling in from behind it, it’ll go backward. As the water goes out, it could fall forwards - and as we lose more and more sand on this part of the beach, that whole building has the potential of falling in," Ranger Howell says.
Seawalls are just part of the proposed solution being worked on by the Town of Fort Myers Beach, in partnership with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
They'll also be getting help from Lee County through the county's beach renourishment trust fund.
Ranger Howell, however, thinks fixes like these are just temporary.
“Our human-placed sand is just going to be temporary - it’s not going to stick, it’s not going to land. It’ll be taken away, little by little, every wave and every storm," says Howell.
That proposal is in the planning and permitting stages, with fieldwork to start as early as next summer.
That work could take up to eight months to complete.