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Longboat Key Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017 4 years ago

Town says thanks for hurricane heroes

Following Hurricane Irma, Meador opened up Casa Del Mar Beach Resort to ten families.

Hotel operator lets staff, others stay free

Following Hurricane Irma, Mark Meador tapped back into his Boy Scout days.

Upon arriving at Casa Del Mar Beach Resort, where he is the general manager, he did a quick survey of the property. That was at 3:30 on Monday, Sept. 11, the day after Irma left Longboat Key relatively unscathed.

“As soon as we got back, we realized we were more fortunate than some in the area,” he said.

So, he made some calls to his employees and told them they were welcome to stay at the resort until power was restored to their homes. Some Longboat residents, and a few people from off the island, stayed at the resort as well. The only price they had to pay was the cleaning fee.

“It goes back to my upbringing and 35 plus years in Boy Scouts: our slogan was ‘do a good turn daily,’ so we certainly wanted to help in any way,” he said.

A total of 10 families stayed at Casa Del Mar. Their visits ranged from two to five days.

The resort itself suffered only minor damage. Meador said there were about five trash bin loads of tree debris to clean up, a tiki hut collapsed and screens blew out.


Town, Publix reach out to thank first responders 

Beginning just a few hours after Irma passed the island, the town's first responder began returning Longboat to normal. To show their thanks for the town's police officers, firefighters and public works employees, many of whom worked for days on end, the Longboat government and Publix teamed up for a "sweet" breakfast.

“It’s something Publix wanted to do today, especially with everything going on with the recent storms," said Store Manager William McLaughlin. "We wanted to give back to the community and thank them for everything they did in preparation, during it and still what’s going on after it, with public works and the clean up."

First responders were treated to snacks and a custom cake with the town's seal and the emblem from Longboat's fire and rescue department. It read "We are grateful for all that you do! Your Publix family." 


Commission thanks Comfort Station planners, sponsors 

In recognition of the town's Comfort Station, set up in response to the widespread power outages on Longboat Key after Hurricane Irma, the town on Monday offered certificates of appreciation to the people who made it possible.

  • Michael J. Renick, of Michael J. Renick & Co. Mangrove Realty Associates
  • Eric Teoh, a Managing Broker of Michael J. Renick & Co. Mangrove Realty Associates
  • Willie McLaughlin, the general manager of the Bay Isles Publix
  • The Longboat Key Garden Club

With so many homes without power, the Comfort Station was set up in Town Hall's Commission Chambers to serve as an air conditioned refuge for people to cool off, charge their electronic devices and grab a cup of coffee, cool drink and a snack. 

Two days after citizens were allowed back on the island, 2,190 of the key's 10,400 Florida Power and Light accounts on Longboat Key were still out.


Debris cleanup continues on Longboat

Work crews continue to make their way through the town, collecting storm debris from Hurricane Irma.

As of early this week, crews had collected about 7,000 cubic yards of debris. Crews typically collect about 460-800 cubic yards a day in 15-25 truckloads, according to information supplied by the Town Manager’s office.

On the north end of town, crews have cleared debris from the neighborhood of the Longboat Key Bridge, including side streets, to General Harris Street. Streets in the Village  were cleared over the weekend.

On the south end of town, crews have worked from the New Pass Bridge up to Triton Boulevard.  Additionally, Longboat Club Road and Harbor Sound Road were cleared, along with side streets.

Teams from the Florida of Department of Transportation have cleared roadsides along Gulf of Mexico Drive from the Longboat Pass Bridge south to the county line.

According to town figures, about 10,000 cubic yards of debris was created when Hurricane Irma passed the area to the east on Sept. 10-11. City officials stress that this collection is strictly for hurricane debris and not the yard waste that is routinely picked up.


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