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Community will decide future of redevelopment according to Dan Allers, Fort Myers Beach mayor: Moore About Business

A man rides a bike at Fort Myers Beach.
Katie Fogarty
A man rides a bike on Fort Myers Beach.

It's been quite a ride for Fort Myers Beach Mayor Dan Allers the past five months, and in many ways the work is just beginning. At a recent commercial real estate professional meeting, I asked him about
commentsby TPI Hospitality, who presented a view that appears to differ greatly from the Fort Myers Beach town council's.

"I wasn't there, but I did read the story and I did speak to (Tom) Torgerson personally about what was said," said Allers. "I wouldn't say that we're on opposite ends of the spectrum. I think we're saying the same things just in different ways."

Allers recounted the first TPI plan from a few years ago, which did not get immediate approval from the town.

"If there's one thing that Margaritaville did, they did come out with that first grandiose plan and it ended up like a turd in the punch bowl, pardon my language. And they they got immediate backlash. But what they did learn, and if you ask Mr. Torgreson or Mr. (John) Dammerman this, what they did learn is that before they do anything further, they're going to listen to the community. They're going to find out what does the community have the backbone for."

Allers did concede that the island will never be the same.

"You know, we lost most of our cottages. It's unfortunate. I'm a history guy, so I really hated to see that. We know we're not going to get those back now. Our community that we had before the storm is probably going to be much different than the community we're gonna have now. We all know that some people are choosing to leave that don't want to wait for five to 10 years. It's going to take to get back to September 27th, what it looked like or whatever the new look is going to be."

In reference to any developer's part in redeveloping the island, Allers said, "Having communication with everyday people that come there, residents, tourists, I think that gets you to a plan. If you can get the community behind you, the council is going to support it no matter what it is. If it's more density, triple density, quadruple density, and the town supports it, then we'll support it. That's who we work for."

Allers said that TPI does have a big part in that redevelopment.

"They got a very nice piece of property that I think we're all going to get to enjoy. Who would have thought? Two years ago that they were going to be the the kickstart to Fort Myers Beach again?"

Karen Moore is a contributing partner for WGCU and the publisher of SWFL Business Today.

Publisher of SWFL Business Today