Hi, again to all. Happy Thursday — and here we are going into the last weekend of September. Unbelievable how fast time is going.
I felt the need to write another “Greetings” so soon because I have been getting emails asking me if Naples is “back to normal” yet. Let me give you a summary of what I have seen and what I know and perhaps that will help answer the question.
While an INCREDIBLE amount of cleanup has taken place around town, there is still so much to do. For example, on the driveway to our home, the Trieste, the entire beautiful tall hedge was destroyed. The remnants have been removed, but the clean up has only begun. On the way out of Bay Colony, downed trees which were lying in the street have been cut way back — but there are still major stumps to be removed. At the entry to Bay Colony and along the entrance wall, there are downed trees which have not been touched as yet — probably because they were not blocking anything or a danger to anyone. Along Pelican Bay Boulevard, the walkway on the west side of the street has been pretty much cleared, but on the east side, parts of the walkways are still blocked in many areas due to trees which were uprooted and took the walkways with them. The Ritz Carlton Beach Resort has had an ARMY of men in trees cutting down the fallen trees, trimming the damaged ones and removing the debris. Both Ritz resorts were not supposed to open until Sunday — but Tiburon reopened a day or so ago and the Beach Resort opened today…ahead of schedule. Kudos to them.
Other businesses which were impacted are Brio’s at Waterside. They opened a week after Irma and then had to close again due to water intrusion. As of my drive-by yesterday, they were still not open but are looking at an October 1 re-open. The sign in front of Artis-Naples was flattened. The very large sign at the Marketplace at Pelican Bay (the tall one near the entrance of the Inn at Pelican Bay) is VERY tilted. Naples Zoo will not reopen until October 14. Bleu Provence in Old Naples sustained water damage and is doing everything they can to reopen in 7-10 days. Platinum Dry Cleaners suffered $150,000 in damage when the roof was blown off of their plant. Miraculously, all of their stores are open and offering 10% cleaning household items. The Baker Museum is closed due to water damage, but will reopen as soon as possible. Gulfshore Playhouse had to cancel their first production of the season, “Paradise,” due to water damage & mold issues at the Norris Center, but work has already begun to repair and restore and their “Leading Ladies” production will begin earlier than scheduled. La Bazeen in Old Naples has closed for good due to Irma. The Naples Grande Hotel has no date to reopen as yet. And those are just the places I know about.
This summer, the Naples area has received over 6 feet of rain — 2 feet above normal. As long as 8 days after Irma hit, more than 1/3 of the City of Naples was still without power. As of yesterday, a friend noted on social media that her home was without power again…and she lives in Port Royal. She was told that FPL had to temporarily shut down certain places for a while so they could permanently fix other places. We are still feeling power surges every once in a while (which really fry my nerve endings, to be honest).
So, is Naples back to normal yet? Is SW Florida back to normal yet? Many places, including Immokalee and Everglades City, have a longer road to recovery than we do. Hurricane Irma smacked this area with a mighty..and humbling…blow. But with the help of so many good people and hard workers….we are rushing back to normal just as fast as we can. I hope that helps.