SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — It’s hard to believe Hurricane Ian hit Florida just six months ago.
There are still signs of the damage in communities hit hard by the storm—with blue tarps covering roofs to homes that need to be demolished.
In parts of North Port, residents are still trying to recover and get their homes and lives back to normal. One resident who lives near Biscayne Drive tells us she hasn’t been able to make any repairs as she waits to see what will be covered by insurance.
In Harbor Cove, the spirit of community remains strong. Residents have continued helping neighbors make repairs as another hurricane season grows closer. Mike Tyler and Robert Melanson were helping fix up one of their friend’s homes while she’s out of town.
“She had hurricane damage and had to have her roof replaced. This outside wall right here was leaking so we are building it back. We tore it up and put a new one in,” Tyler said.
Snowbird Randy Raybuck lost his roof during the storm and is still dealing with permitting issues to get it rebuilt. He says it’s almost time for him to head back to Ohio, but first he needs to make sure his home in Florida isn’t something he’ll need to worry about while he’s gone.
“Right now I think it is the anxiety of making something happen before the next hurricane season comes up. Tarps won’t cut it. I am on my second set of tarps right now,” said Raybuck.
Residents say much of their focus now is aimed at the Myakka River and the canals surrounding it. The area was littered with debris from communities in the area and there’s still a lot of work to be done.
During a volunteer clean up event hosted at Harbor Cove last month, Sarasota Bay Watch says 150 volunteers helped fill five 40-yard dumpsters and three 16-yard dumpsters with debris from the river and its canals.
There is a second event planned for Saturday, April 8 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 499 Imperial Drive in North Port. 14 kayaks will be provided, volunteers with kayaks are encouraged to bring them along.
Anyone interested in volunteering can find more details and how to sign up by clicking here.