Fort Myers residents fight to save Rock Lake Resort from demolition

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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Part of Fort Myers’ history is about to be erased from the city’s landscape. A resort motel that was built when Harry Truman was president is falling apart and now there’s pressure to keep it from the wrecking ball.

Brick sidewalks surround the Rock Lake Resort, which has been in the heart of downtown for 76 years. Unfortunately, the motel is nearing the end of its lifespan.

More than a dozen dolphin fountains surround a well-stocked lake. Raquel Reyes works at the station and said a huge carp was among the many species of fish living in the lake.

Nine cabins are engulfed in a verdant forest setting. Reyes described it as nature in the middle of the city.

However, nature must now give way to an urban landscape, as employees have been told the motel is due to close since it was sold to new owners in September.

Joanne Miller is a member of the SWFL Historical Society and said the town is slowly losing its historic southern charm.

Simple efficiency rooms remind guests, like Miller, of another era.

“It’s old Florida. It’s like stepping back in time and that’s how people took vacations before computers and jet skis. They were coming to these little mom and pop resorts,” Miller explained.

Michael George lives in New York and his grandfather James Moore built the resort in 1947.

“When I was little, we spent all our time there,” George recalls.

He shared dozens of old family photos that showed the property in its heyday, and he explained how his grandfather built the lake after he returned to Fort Myers after World War II.

“He dredged the lake of all the rocks and then used the rocks to build these cabins,” George said.

He was told that the cabins must now fall.

“It’s one of those things where it’s been there for so long you think it’s gonna…it’s just gonna be there forever,” George said.

After hearing the news that the property had been sold and the land would be cleared, George said he and his sister had planned a final visit to the property next week before it became just a memory.

“When I go there, I feel like I can still smell my parents and grandparents there, which is one of the reasons it’s so hard to say goodbye,” he said. concluded George.

The lake is full of turtles and various species of fish and many people want to know what will happen to them if the property is cleared and so far there is no answer to this question.

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