Deadline approaching to fix sinkhole on Fort Myers Beach

Deadline approaching to fix sinkhole on Fort Myers Beach

By Gabrielle Sarann. CREATED Nov 8, 2011

FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. - After Fort Myers Beach approved a $130,000 contract to fix a recurring sink hole, Fox 4 checked it out. The gaping hole is big enough to fit at least two Volkswagen Beettles.

Patrons of the popular Nervous Nellie's restaurant at Fort Myers Beach, have to look at an 18 foot sink hole when they dine outside.

"[It's] an eyesore, unappetizing, yes absolutely," said customer Pat Kercher, visiting from MI.

And there's another problem.

"Is it hurting our business? Yes, because people think we're closed and we're not," explained Rob Degennaro, the owner of Nervous Nellies.

The nuisance is under a public sidewalk next to the eatery. Degennaro's outside seating area extended to the end of the dock until three weeks ago when the seawall nearly caved and he had to shorten his patio.

"Once we opened up the area and saw the nature of the void, we deemed it as an emergency issue and set about repairing it immediately," said Terry Stewart, the town manager.

Stewart explained the $130,000 tab to fix the hole could have been prevented. Officials blame the mishandling of a 2006 Lee county submarine pipeline that caused the seawall to breach.

"They had a mishap here with the bottom end of the seawall and created some damage," added Stewart.

"And they worked diligently but it's been three and a half, four weeks now on a job that should have been two weeks," said Degennaro.

And for him, time is money and the Thursday deadline the town promised is nearing.

"As far as I'm concerned, they can work through the night to get it done," said Degennaro. "But it's just not happening."

Town officials say the sinkhole will be fixed in seven to 10 days. That's a week later than the owner of Nervous Nellie's says he was promised.