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Fort Myers city council picks shortlist of potential Yacht Basin contractors

Posted at 6:28 PM, May 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-17 18:42:04-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The City of Fort Myers has selected Suntex Marinas as their first choice to redevelop the historic downtown Yacht Basin. The decision was voted on by the city council Monday night, which created a shortlist of two potential bidders.

“I’m excited with everything because now we have an opportunity to see a real asset for the city become an even greater asset," says Mayor Kevin Anderson.

It's an asset to some, and a home to others - and that's at the heart of a weeks-long conflict between a group of concerned residents and the city.

The Mayor says that he hopes to get input from those same residents on how those plans will move forward.

“What do they like about the different proposals? What don’t they like? What is it they would actually like to see at the Yacht Basin? And as we negotiate, we will work with that bidder as to meeting those needs," explains Mayor Anderson.

Stephen Gotham has made the Yacht Basin his home for two years, a transplant from Michigan - and in that time, his love for the sea has only grown faster. He's one of the many liveaboards who is worried about that lifestyle being disrupted.

“I love it. It’s not just like living someplace, it’s like a lifestyle," says Gotham. “They really don’t care about individual people. It’s all about a return on investment.”

Gotham says that it's the people that are at the core of what makes Fort Myers a special place to live.

“The city is all about the people that live here. And the reason we live here is that beautiful river, it’s like magic,” he says.

“You have to always have progress. But then there’s the price of progress.”

Suntex Marinas will now enter into negotiations with the city to finalize a plan for the Yacht Basin, and in the meantime, Mayor Anderson says the city will be sending out surveys to their residents to get their input.