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Spot chosen for historic Beach arches

July 10, 2019
By LEAH SANKEY (lsankey@breezenewspapers.com) , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

The Restore Fort Myers Beach Arches nonprofit group is building a replica of the historic arches that were torn down in 1979 and will be placing it in Crescent Park.

The group plans to start working with Lee County by the end of this month to begin the process of restoring the arches.

"People that grew up here in the '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, and '70s recognized that as the doorway to Fort Myers Beach. It was part of home," said Steven Ray McDonald, the president of Restore the Arches. "FDOT took that away without much warning, and we're just trying to bring it back."

Article Photos

A photo of the original arches.

PHOTO PROVIDED

In 1929, Tom Phillips built the Fort Myers Beach Arches - a cement structure filled with shells and coquinas. The arches were the landmark entrance to Fort Myers Beach. The initial proposal was to make a replica of the arches over San Carlos Blvd., in its original location.

Regulatory requirements by the Florida Department of Transportation, perceived liability, and costs of building them over San Carlos Boulevard led Lee County to propose the arches being built in Crescent Park, according McDonald. The group also ran a poll with the Fort Myers Beach Observer where a majority who voted said that they'd prefer to have them in Crescent Park instead of the original location.

"I've always been a proponent of putting them over the road, but the votes were for putting them in the park, so we're working in that direction," said McDonald. "We want the Fort Myers Beach community to be happy with what we do."

The new arches will be built using coral rock, the same material from which the original arches were built. The arches also will include remnants of the original arches that the group was able to salvage, which includes a stone that weighs approximately 10 tons.

"It'll be cool for people who have pictures in front of the original arches to have their kids or grandkids take pictures with the new arches in Crescent Park," said McDonald.

The group is actively seeking volunteers and sponsors for their event to fund the construction of the arches, the third annual Rock the Arches.

The event will be held at the Lani Kai Resort in April of 2020 and will have two stages and 12 acts. Contact the group at 520-227-9902 if you're interested in volunteering or being a sponsor.

 
 

 

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