A Brief Tale of Two Counties after Ian: Moore About Business
You can look at the economic impact of Hurricane Ian from a variety of perspectives. Recently, Lee County manager Dave Harner and Collier County manager Amy Patterson shared their views with an audience of local business leaders at The Chamber of Southwest Florida.
Harner pointed out that as they attempt to move forward, Lee County is encountering challenges.
"I think all of you feel the pain when your house is damaged and you're waiting for for your insurance. We have the same thing," said Harner. "We're waiting for insurance money and we're waiting for FEMA. We have we have about 406 facilities damaged, which equates to about 121 projects around the county. That's a lot of work and the the you have to go through a process to get that approved to get fixed."
Patterson said Ian affected Collier County in different ways.
"It's a sort of a tale of two storms in Collier County, with a large section of our county really not experiencing anything beyond some stormy weather, maybe some downed tree branches and and not much else," she said. "But the coast completely different, experiencing massive flooding and storm surge, particularly the further north you got in the county."
Patterson continued, "As a testament to the Florida building code and Collier County's adherence to to that building code, we have a lot of structures that did incredibly well. There were some other areas of the county that were just beginning that transition from the 1960s and 1970s homes to being replaced with newer homes built at higher elevations. And as far as their positioning off of the coast, the surge managed to push its way up through these waterways and a lot of these homes experienced significant flooding upwards of 6 feet of water in their homes. And this is our working class. So, we find ourselves now positioned with an entire segment of our population that has been displaced and the questions have come about what's going to happen because a lot of them won't be allowed to build back."
Paterson pointed out the need to protect and sustain our local workforce when faced with the possibility of another hurricane.
"We're one storm away from from another situation where another segment of our population could or would have been affected if this storm had come closer to us. Further to the south, there are additional segments of our population and areas where our workforce lives that would have been impacted in just the same way. And so as we move forward with our ideas about how we protect ourselves, it's one of the things that is very important because without a without a, a thriving workforce, we will have challenges beyond even what anybody can imagine."