Kahlua visit by Marianne Douglas, Web Designer - March 31, 2023
I had the opportunity to visit our beautiful Kahlua while in Florida to visit family. Debbie asked me as web designer to visit Kahlua, take pictures and write up a description from my perspective so that I might share it with my fellow owners. We have a unique viewpoint from our years staying there and I agreed to help out.
I met her and John, our maintenance man, at the site so they could unlock the fence which surrounds the property. They guided me around the site so that I would be sure to only stay in the safe areas. Thankfully most of the rubble is cleaned up but what’s left is uneven and not safe to walk on.
As much as we’ve all seen the pictures that have been posted on the website and now the Facebook page, it’s quite a difference to see it in person. For me, every turn was a memory of what was once there contrasted with what’s there now. It’s truly a miracle that the building is standing. We are very lucky in that regard. Many properties are gone, wiped off the map. It was surreal to look through the building and see the beautiful Gulf of Mexico which thankfully had no red tide that day.
The damage to the first floor is extensive. Luckily enough remained to hold the building up. The elevator is gone, the bottom of the stairways have broken off, and the corridor that once led from the door to the trash area to the smoking tiki/barbecue area is total rubble and mostly unpassable. The Gulf side is a collection of balconies, crushed and dangling by a mash up of tile and steel rebar.
The good news is that so much has happened in the 6 months since Hurricane Ian. When I see the pictures from home (thank you to the staff for taking those), it doesn’t seem like much because I’m like many of you, so anxious for progress. But in reality, it’s quite amazing when you compare these pictures to the first ones (they’re on the bottom of the Hurricane Ian page under Owner’s on the website).
Like what? Most of the debris is gone. The first and second floors are cleaned out, the first floor by the hurricane. The pool has been drained and cleaned of the debris that ended up in it and it’s still standing with only minimal damage. Same for the hot tub/Jacuzzi. On the day I was there, the debris was being cleared out of the water that has pooled along our seawall with the intention to be filled in by new beach sand at a later date.
When I compare what we have left to others on the beach, I feel gratitude. I know we have much ahead of us but compared to what some have had to deal with, I feel fortunate. Especially when I see homes, businesses, churches and timeshares along Estero Boulevard that look hopeless. Or the huge swatches of land that now sit empty.
Like you, I look forward to positive information from the people working on the numbers that will help decide the future of Kahlua. I know with so many properties looking for answers, the timeline is what it is. I just know that like many of you, I hope to be back in my little piece of heaven soon!