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Town council has heated discussion with Lani Kai consultant on safety

Fort Myers Beach Town Council got into a heated discussion with a Lani Kai consultant Thursday about what the hotel-resort is doing to make the island safer and secure.

This came after a string of crimes at the Lani Kai. The town council was concerned about the number of calls sending deputies to the hotel property.

Council thought it was going to hear more solutions and suggestions from the Lani Kai’s consultant on how to make it safer. She shared some suggestions but says the number of calls directly related to the hotel is much lower than council thinks.

“So you’re here as a defense attorney to dispute these numbers? As opposed to discussing the next steps to making things better?,” Councilman Jim Atterholt said during the meeting.

“The numbers that you all think are outrageous are not the real numbers,” said Ellyn Bogdanoff, the consultant for Lani Kai.

Bogdanoff says the high volume of calls is in part because the hotel is a landmark for callers who might be anywhere along the beach.

“They just happen to be kind of the fun spot to go, so a lot of people end up at the Lani Kai,” Bogdanoff said.

But the town council wanted to hear more than just a breakdown of numbers. They wanted to hear solutions.

“I am taking notes on what your recommendations are and I’ve only gotten one so far,” Vice Mayor Rexann Hosafros said.

Restricting access to the hotel to only the breezeway area, having key fobs for guests with rooms and beefing up training for security are some of the suggestions discussed.

Bogdanoff told us she’s made several other suggestions to make the hotel safer and to cut down on some of those calls, but she did not want to tell us or the council what those suggestions are currently. She says the hotel is committed to making the necessary changes to keep everyone safe.

John Gant, who works at Yo Taco across the street from Lani Kai, says he hopes the changes cut down on some of the police activity he sees often.

“I still see a pretty good amount of flashing lights over there,” Gant said. “If it’s getting that out of control, I guess they have to do it, and I guess it will be one of those things that they try and see if it helps.”

Reporter:Breana Ross
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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