New bridge threatens Cortez fishing village way of life – FOX 13 News, Tampa Bay
CORTEZ (FOX 13) – A large, modern bridge is supposed to help ease traffic congestion going to Anna Maria Island.
But some residents at the other end of the bridge, in the fishing village of Cortez, worry it will destroy their town’s rustic charm.
It’s one of the last working historical fishing villages in Florida. The way of life in Cortez hasn’t changed much over the years.
Jane Von Hahmann and Kim McVey want to keep it that way.
“We’re looking to maintain the culture and we are looking to stay connected,” she said.
They’re worried a new bridge proposed for Cortez will overshadow the fishing village.
“We want to maintain that feel that you’re not in Miami, you’re not in Ft.Myers, even Sarasota,” said Von Hahmann.
The Florida Department of Transportation unveiled plans for the massive 65-foot fixed span bridge. They said it’s the best option in replacing the current bridge, which has stood for 60 years.
Maintaining the current bridge is costing too much money. Millions have been spent to keep it in working condition.
The new bridge would last 75 years and improve traffic.
Residents, like McVey said it’ll cut down on routes to their businesses, homes and add to traffic problems.
“You can only get so many people to that island. You are going to build a huge parking lot that’s what you’re building and taking out a historic village in the process,” said McVey.
FDOT promises to work with businesses to keep the customer flow going.
“We are going to work with the business community to make sure we are maintaining good access for them that they have the ability to get their customers to and from their businesses and restaurants,” said Zac Burch with the FDOT.
Residents said they’ve been through worse.
“No matter what they