Southwest Florida made the national news this week with some of the highest rain recorded in Naples (some 7″ on Monday, when the previous record was 2″). Sanibel and Captiva Islands had a lot then too, but the sandy soil here managed to absorb it quickly. Personally, I had a little fall-out from the storms, when lightning hit the prized Bismark palm in my front yard. Just the price we pay for summers in Florida!
The beaches remain busy with summer vacationers, but the local children are getting ready to go back to school, in less than two weeks, on August 18. Yesterday, I heard that the number of vacation rental check-ins tomorrow is dropping off. Then that business really comes to an almost screeching-halt the following Saturday. That is the norm here late August and September and the reason why many restaurants and businesses close up then for annual maintenance work and vacations. Now through the end of September often is the slowest time of the year on the islands, but still a great time to come.
A few SanibelSusan listings were shown this week and though we had an Association of Realtors® biweekly caravan meeting yesterday, I was the only one to announce a new sale (Spanish Cay #A4) and only one new listing was on Caravan for viewing. These are more indications of how S-L-O-W, it can be here late summer. The action posted in the Multiple Listing Service follow a couple of news items below. The first is a list of a couple of closings that were announced this week:
Noah’s Ark Thrift Shop (located behind St. Michael & All Angels Episcopal Church at 2304 Periwinkle Way) annual Bag Day is August 15 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Bags will be sold for $4 each, and can be filled with anything that fits inside. Larger items will be 80% off. Noah’s Ark will not be accepting donations again until after September 1.
The Sanibel Historical Village closed its doors on another season on July 30 and will reopen in November. There will be a lot of changes when the museum reopens. Shore Haven, the 1924 Sears Roebuck house is in the final stages of preparation to serve as a welcome center for guests and a staging area for docents. People are welcome to walk the grounds of the village during the off-season with signage for the buildings giving visitors a picture of life in old-time Sanibel. When the village reopens November 5, hours will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with docent-led tours at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. More info at www.sanibelmuseum.org.
Similar work was finished this week at the Nerita Street Beach Access which reopened yesterday.
Henderson Boat Ramp is closed for dredging as part of the City’s maintenance of canals in the Pine Tree Drive canal system. The ramp will remain closed until the dredging is complete which is expected to take four months.
Cyclists Focus on Sanibel
Sanibel City Manager, Judie Zimomra, posted the following on Facebook earlier this week. What nice recognition of the island’s terrific bike path system and its history: “…thanks to Sanibel resident Tom Sharbaugh this concise history of our Shared Use Paths system is currently posted on the Bike Walk Lee Blog…….& a tip of the hat to the three Sanibel Moms who were the birthmothers of our path system that now provides recreation, transportation, exercise & fun to thousands of our residents & visitors daily…”
“Thursday, July 24, 2014. This week’s BWL column, written by Tom Sharbaugh, shares the history of the Sanibel Island path system. Anyone looking for proof that interested citizens can advance the cause of bike/ped safety in their community need look no further than nearby Sanibel Island for a good example.
“BikeWalkLee’s News-Press “Go Coastal” Column: 7/24/14 By Tom Sharbaugh
“When the Sanibel Causeway opened in May 1963, it brought a period of intense development to what was previously a sleepy barrier island.
“For cyclists and pedestrians, it also brought a nightmare as they were forced to share narrow island streets with non-stop traffic, including heavy construction vehicles. Without benefit of bike lanes or sidewalks, every trip by bike or by foot became a life-threatening experience.
“Eventually, residents had had enough, and a few concerned citizens decided to do something about it. In December 1972, four island women — Grace Whitehead, Mariel Goss, Sherry Vartdal and Starr Thomas — organized the Sanibel Bike Path Committee to work toward creation of a system of “hike and bike” trails for the community. As mothers of young children, these women had a special interest in improving safety for bicycles and pedestrians.
The group adopted a slogan: “Preserve, Protect and Pedal.”
“Preserving the environment and wildlife was (and still is) a hot button with Sanibel residents. Protecting children with safer streets was a key goal of the effort, and pedaling was promoted as a healthy alternative to motor vehicles for getting around the island. (It is interesting that these same themes are alive on the island today.)
“After unsuccessfully seeking help from Lee County and state entities, organizers determined that if their effort was going to succeed, they would have to drive it through local efforts, raising money for the project and calling attention to the importance of their cause.
“What followed is a classic example of “bootstrap activism,” as the founding women geared up local fundraising efforts. They placed donation jars at local businesses, which raised their first $1,180.
“They created a local phone directory for Sanibel and Captiva, selling the first edition for $2 with all proceeds going toward building the new bike path. They sold T-shirts and sand dollar necklaces, and they organized fundraising dinners.
“In addition to raising money, the organizers looked for ways to increase awareness about why this was an important community need. In February 1974, the women organized a protest during which 15 bicyclists rode the length of Periwinkle Way in the middle of the traffic lane during rush hour.
“After determining that bikes had the same rights as motor vehicles to be on the road, they decided to use this as a demonstration to county commissioners and law enforcers that a safer alternative was needed for bikes and pedestrians.
“Later, the group invited all the Lee County Commissioners to a pot luck luncheon, after which they drove them around the streets of Sanibel to see first-hand the unsafe road conditions.
“Eventually, these efforts made a difference. Influenced by the Sanibel group’s activities, Lee County developed a plan for a county-wide network of paths and a funding strategy for county and state funding to pay construction costs. Also that year, Florida’s Department of Transportation (FDOT) set aside $2 million in federal funds for bike path construction.
“And when the City of Sanibel was incorporated in late 1974, the path system was a prominent issue; candidates for the first City Council election were asked to state their positions regarding the path system. In 1976, the first 2½ miles of Sanibel’s path were built along Periwinkle Way, funded by $10,000 in seed money from the Sanibel Bike Path Committee, matched by a similar amount from FDOT.
“Since those early days, Sanibel’s path system (now known as a “Shared Use Path”) has been expanded many times and now covers over 25 miles of off-road pathways. Responsibility for overseeing path construction & maintenance now rests with the City of Sanibel, funded by city tax revenues. But stewardship of the path continues to be a responsibility shared between the city and the citizens of Sanibel.
“In recent years, the job of advocating for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure and safety has been taken on by the Sanibel Bicycle Club. Founded in 1994, the club has worked closely with the city and its Department of Public Works to identify path expansion opportunities, maintenance needs and safety issues, and to provide volunteer help for path-related projects.
“In a throwback the path’s early history, in 2005 the Sanibel Bicycle Club established the “Sanibel Trails In Motion” fund, a 501c3 nonprofit dedicated to raising money through donations to pay for path enhancements. To date, Sanibel Trails In Motion has collected more than $57,000. The Trails In Motion Fund helped to pay for preparation of Sanibel’s 2009 Shared Use Path Master Plan, in partnership with the city.
“In the past 10 years, Sanibel’s path system has been extended to new parts of the island, widened in heavily traveled areas, and separated from the roadway with a grassy median. Recent focus has been updating crosswalks and adding safe interconnectivity of the path with major destination locations.
Anyone looking for proof that interested citizens can advance the cause of bike/ped safety in their community need look no further than nearby Sanibel Island for a good example.”
— Tom Sharbaugh is a member of the Sanibel Bicycle Club and the BikeWalkLee steering committee. BikeWalkLee is a community coalition raising public awareness and advocating for complete streets in Lee County—streets that are designed, built, operated and maintained for safe and convenient travel for all users: pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders of all ages and abilities. Information, statistics and background online at www.BikeWalkLee.org. Click the blue link for a copy of the Sanibel Path system map.
Florida Has Most Visitors Ever
“More travelers visited Florida in the first quarter of this year than during any other three-month period in the state’s history. Data from Visit Florida showed that from January through March, 26.7 million visitors entered the state, a half-million more than the previous record set last year. The uptick in tourism, and the impact on the state’s economy, was lauded in Tallahassee on Monday by Visit Florida and the non-profit TaxWatch.
“The numbers represent an increase of 38,000 tourism related jobs and 37,000 outside of the industry related to strong 2013. The study also shows that travel related jobs in the state during the first three months are up 3.5% compared to the same time in 2013.
“The Legislature approved a budget with $74 million in funding for marketing and promotion by Visit Florida, a huge increase from the $10.5 million the year before. “If the state increases its tourism spending, private businesses do as well and private investment is great for the state of Florida,” said TaxWatch chief economist Jerry Parrish.
“Visit Florida, public-private agency, is required to have a one-to-one match in private funding. Over the past seven years it averaged $2.08 in private money for every public dollar. Parrish said aside from being a boon in communities statewide, more visitors put money into the state coffers for paying off state debt, lessens the tax burden on state residents, makes tax-free holidays possible and contributes to infrastructure funding.
“The increase in visitors is part of a three-year trend of more travelers, international and domestic. “There’s no question the state of Florida and the tourism industry in the state of Florida has a tremendous amount of momentum,” said Visit Florida President and CEO Will Seccombe. Data show that in the first six months of 2014, hotel room rentals increased 10%.
“In 2013, 94.3 million visitors came to the state. That number has been rising from 80.8 million in 2009, a record low. Robust tourism visitation for June in Collier County resulted in continued high occupancy at hotels and short term rentals at close to 70% and a 14.2% increase in tourism direct spending over June of 2013. Year-to-date direct spending by visitors is nearing $759 million, 11.4% ahead of the pace for 2013. “Tourism and hospitality industry direct and indirect employment in Collier County increased by 4.0% in 2013 and reached a peak of 38,800 during the 2014 winter season. Our summer visitation and occupancy continues to be close to capacity, which means that more of those employed will be able to keep their jobs without being subjected to seasonal layoffs,” said Jack Wert, Collier tourism executive director. “Our community has enjoyed 41 straight months of job growth in the tourism and hospitality sector.”
“The Bureau of Labor Statistics data totals the average annual employment and total annual wages for each of the state’s 67 counties. In 2013, the leisure and hospitality category of private-sector jobs pushed more than 24,000 jobs in Collier County with a total annual salary over $627 million. Lee County jobs totaled more than 34,000 with annual wages topping $734 million countywide. “We’ve always known that tourism creates jobs and there is an absolute return on our investment,” said Tamara Pigott, executive director for Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau. “We’re very supportive in helping Florida get to that 100 million (visitors) number. We want to grow our visitation, and we do believe in that partnership. All ships lift in a rising tide, and we are supportive of their funding. We all have a symbiotic relationship — their promotion efforts and ours.””
Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity August 1-8
2 new listings: Loggerhead Cay #322 2/2 $519K, Sanibel Inn #3512 2/2 $725K.
3 price changes: Sundial #D207 1/1 now $258.990; Seascape #105 3/3 now $1.795M, Seascape #204 3/3.5 now $1.895M.
No new sales.
2 closed sales: Coquina Beach #5G 2/2 $372.5K, Sundial #J307 2/2 $501K.
3 new listings: 1063 Blue Heron Dr 3/2 $545K, 1195 Par View Dr 3/2.5 $1.195M, 2010 Sunrise Cir 5/3 $1.379M.
1 price change: 1377 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 now $469K.
5 new sales: 421 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 listed for $499K, 1225 Junonia St 3/2 listed for $649K; 1504 Angel Dr 4/3 listed for $745K; 1048 Kings Crown Dr 4/4 listed for $1,224,995; 766 Sand Dollar Dr 4/5.5 listed for $1.495M.
5 closed sales: 2079 Wild Lime Dr 3/2 $480K, 236 Hurricane Ln 3/3 $530K, 1049 S Yachtsman Dr 3/2 $590K, 2569 Coconut Dr 2/2 $622K, 5313 Punta Caloosa Ct 4/3 $820K.
Nothing to report.
1 new listing: Bayside Villas #4212 1/2 $275K.
No price changes.
1 new sale: Sunset Beach Villas #2313 1/1 listed for $539K.
No closed sales.
1 new listing: 16910 Captiva Dr 4/4 $4.835M
No price changes or new sales.
2 closed sales: 11411 Old Lodge Ln 4/2 $900K, 11547 Wightman Ln 2/2 $1.275M.
Nothing to report.
This representation is based, in whole, or in part, on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® or its Multiple Listing Service. Neither the association nor its MLS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy.
Happy Weekend to all! SanibelSusan
Here is a photo taken on Wednesday from the beach access next to Sanibel Siesta!