Matlacha, Florida — Much of Matlacha still looks like a war zone, but many are happy with the progress so far.
Some houses are submerged in water, while others are completely swept away.
“They have done a phenomenal job of putting this all back together,” says Robert Declue.
Since the storm, Declue has spent his time cooking for neighbors and business owners in front of That Barbecue Place.
“I was part of a ship crusader that went before the road was built,” Decreux said. “So we got a good response from everyone.”
So he’s seen everything from sunken houses to high piles of rubble.
He said he was proud of the cleanup, which was completed in just over a month.
“Over the past three weeks, everything we’ve done has been as a community,” he said. “The state and county worked together to set this up perfectly. It’s still a disaster zone and we’re working on it.”
Some business owners say the reason the streets are lined with debris is because more people have finally returned to Matlacha.
The county said this is a high priority area for cleanup.
“We have hardcore business owners here. If we have a place to do that, we’re already reopening,” DeCrew said.
For some, the reopening will take months, he said.
“It’s no use for people who are just showing off passing by here,” Decreux said. “If you want to help, get out of the damn car, pick up something, take it home, get out of the island, and dump it there.”
Matracha D&D bait and tackle said they have regained power, but still have a lot to clean up.
We plan to reopen on December 1st.
Here is the full Lee County statement:
“Matracha is a priority area as it has experienced flooding and storm surges. Checking the debris dashboard, the first pass of debris cleanup is currently underway. Reconstruction is highly dependent on the individual owner and extent of damage. .”