We are about two weeks shy of two months since Hurricane Ian struck and did incredible damage to Naples and GSBN.
Most of us know all too well the overwhelming work involved in recovery and rebuilding. It will take months and perhaps years to return to “normal”.
Every GSAC member building suffered damage … some minor …but many major. There are still several buildings without power. Those buildings constructed at or near sea level have lost common area, units, pools, car ports, and more. Elevators are a challenge for many of us and the internet, until recently, has been intermittent. Life safety systems have been compromised. Hundreds of cars were lost. Beach and dune erosion is devastating. Massive amounts of landscape were destroyed. Insurance claims are large and complex.
Building Managers and Boards are dealing with all these things … all at the same time. And many have limited experience with these issues and with crisis management.
As your GSAC board plans for this upcoming season it is important that we concentrate on these things, as an organization, and determine what we can do to help our members in their recovery and rebuilding effort.
Our first step in this process in the aftermath of Ian, was to survey our GSAC member organizations to identify their immediate concerns and formulate how best GSAC could assist them through advocacy or education.
Sixty condominium associations responded to the survey, circulated thirty days after Hurricane Ian hit our shores. As mentioned earlier, not one property in our Gulf Shore Boulevard community escaped damage. Close to 60% of respondents experienced significant damage: 54% estimated their damage to be major and six buildings classified their losses as catastrophic.
Not surprisingly Landscaping took the greatest hit from the historic storm surge with 100% of properties suffering some level of destruction. Elevators were the second greatest impairment with 89% of respondents reporting flooding to pits and equipment.
The GSAC survey also found that associations have an urgent need to better understand insurance coverage and to this end GSAC is scheduling insurance experts for a forum on the subject.
The post Ian survey can be found here for your review. The survey has been conveyed to the City Manager, Mayor and Council with the expectation that it will give them a deeper understanding of what GSAC members faced.
One of the most requested forum topics from our members was understanding flood insurance. We will be inviting experts to present “Flood Insurance: What can you expect from your policy?” Pre-register for an online forum on December 6th from 9:00 am to 11:00 am. The Zoom capacity is 500 registrations.
In closing, GSAC has been very active behind the scenes over the last six weeks.
We worked with Councilman Ted Blankenship and the City Manager, Jay Boodeshwar as well as City Staff in setting up a meeting early on to expedite the power recovery effort for member buildings. Councilwoman Beth Petrunoff went door to door to those buildings without power to distribute a flyer outlining the process to reconnect. Councilman Christman has been helpful in keeping Gulf Shore Boulevard’s needs in the forefront. Craig Mole and the Building Department have provided timely inspections for those in need.
Chief Wechsler and Officer Perry with the Naples Police Department have responded to our request for increased security which included placing officers on the Park Shore Drive and Harbour Drive bridges from dusk to dawn.
Unfortunately, one GSAC member building did experience a fire emergency. Fire Chief DiMaria and the City of Naples Fire-Rescue responded swiftly, bringing the fire quickly under control.
Natalie Hardman, the Natural Resources Director has fielded questions regarding beach recovery and DEP issues. Bob Middleton, Director Solid Waste and Streets and Stormwater has worked feverishly in cleaning up all sorts of debris from our streets and Chad Merritt, Interim Director Community Service along with his team got our parks safely opened within weeks.
We have also convened a group of Commons Boards to coordinate recovery of the beach-walk. We continue to field many questions that have come to us through GSACNaples.org. If you have a question, please contact us, we may be able to help.
As you can see GSAC has been very busy over the past six weeks, and we will continue to try to assist you in answering your questions as we move forward.