FORT MYERS, Fla. — From the boats stacked up in the Legacy Harbor to businesses on First Street closed for months due to water damage... the impact of Hurricane Ian is still felt throughout downtown Fort Myers one year later.
Fox 4's Briana Brownlee talked with Mayor Kevin Anderson to hear about his vision for restoring downtown.
"One year ago I stood in the door of my condo, and I looked down towards the river and I watched the water come in... All I could think is downtown is going to take a beating... we’ve come so far," said Anderson.
With the amount of damage sustained from Hurricane Ian, there was a lot of pressure for downtown Fort Myers to be a catalyst for tourism since the beaches were hit very hard.
"Our business tax receipts, once we got back open after the storm, were just through the ceiling. We were the only place that was open," said Anderson.
One business that did not survive the storm in downtown Fort Myers was First Street Restaurant.
Anderson tells Fox 4 that even though there were some losses from the storm the city has to keep looking forward and be focused on new developments.
"Sure, we don’t like the fact that we lost a restaurant that’s been here for a while, but we have to think forward, we have to be optimistic."
The Fort Myers Mayor told Fox 4 about some of the up-and-coming developments residents can expect to see in the coming months.
Anderson said on Bay Street a brewery is going to be developed, and across the street will be a Bruno's of Brooklyn.
According to the Mayor as soon as the companies get through the lease they will start the developments.
The Mayor also told Fox 4 that along with new restaurants the public can also expect new hotels, parking garages, and more business in the future.
"That just shows you that it’s not just us bouncing back with the businesses that were damaged. It’s a new business as well because downtown is the place to be."