Sanibel took a beating during Ian, and many people think it will be years before the island will ever be close to what it once was.
Beaches remain closed on the island without boardwalks, and debris is scattered everywhere.
Nevertheless, the mayor believes the island will be open on January 2.
Damage caused by Hurricane Ian. CREDIT: WINK News
People can expect to play 18 holes at the Sanibel Island Golf Club, a handful of restaurants, and lots of traffic, but forget about going to the beach because they won’t be open.
Recovery is never easy and often requires an excessive amount of patience.
But the sounds of it are starting to ring around Sanibel.
Marcus Preece is the general manager of Cielo, and spoke with WINK News about the recovery efforts.
“It’s nice to see the greenery coming back. And people coming back to look after their homes and get out and relax and enjoy themselves for a little bit,” Preece said.
Preece got his restaurant up and running on Nov. 15, which was less than two months after Ian ripped through the island.
Glasses hanging in a restaurant. CREDIT: WINK News
People like Philippe Grandjen are going in to eat at the restaurant.
“I’m here every day just trying to get back on the island. So working with folks to remediate mold and then start looking at potentially putting it all back together,” Grandjen said.
It’s a lot of work, and opening the island back up to everyone starting January 2, he fears, will make his life harder.
But the goal is to help ramp up the cash flow of the five or six businesses that are open.
Drew Donnelly is a co-owner at the Sanibel Island Golf Club, he spoke with WINK News about recovery process.
“That will help some I mean, there’s not a whole lot of public golf courses in the county. So that this will definitely be an option,” Donnelly said.
Businesses would be nice but he’s sympathetic to homeowners just trying to rebuild their livelihoods.
“I think it’ll be three days of people sightseeing. After that people are gonna get sick of sitting in traffic waiting to get out here. And the people that come out here will be coming out here to hopefully support business,” Donnelly said.
Some places like the golf course, still have a ways to go before they’re fully recovered.
They’re hoping the next three weeks give them enough time to figure out their pricing, get more golf carts running, and get people back to the golf course like never before.