PORT CHARLOTTE Fla.- As high tides and high winds continue to cause flooding and damage in Charlotte County. Businesses and county leaders are working to assess the damage and figure out what to do next. "We have a couple of places where we have some pretty good damage in the scheme of things that we are going to have to do some repairs", said Assistant County Superintendent Kelly Shoemaker today. That's because churning waters on the Peace River have eroded so much of the beach along Riverside Drive in Port Charlotte that the river is reclaiming some sections of the sidewalk. "We closed Bayshore, Port Charlotte Beach and Englewood Beach and we did that because we are concerned about public safety", said Shoemaker.
Businesses were not immune from the damage. At Portofinos Restaurant in Charlotte Harbor, the water destroyed a small floating gazebo they had on the water for wedding celebrations. The waterside bar that the restaurant had just finished building is much more "waterside" with chairs and tables floating in the Peace River. Portofino's general manager Doug Eichelberger was not surprised to find the damage on Tuesday. "You know after 72 hours of near gale force winds and constant pounding, it's turned into something a little more serious", said Eichelberger. Portifinos says they are waiting for the storm to pass because they want to get right to work cleaning up the mess. "You know it's unfortunate that something that's only a tropical storm can do such damage", said Eichelberger. The county is right in line with that assessment saying that if all goes well, they may have county parks open by the weekend.