Group receives more time to remodel Fort Myers building for Olympians' art

A nonprofit art group received an extension from Lee County commissioners for the remodeling of their Caloosahatchee River-front building Tuesday because they’re too close to the river.

Gabrielle Oerter, daughter of four-time Olympian gold medalist and late Fort Myers Beach artist Al Oerter, told commissioners the flood zone designation for the building was changed, so the remodel plan must change as well.

“In March we found out our building has been designated a flood zone,” Oerter said.

That means Federal Emergency Management Agency standards will limit the investment.

“We went from about $2 million to $600,000,” Oerter said. “We pretty much came to a screaming halt on design.”

Art of the Olympians is a nonprofit group promoting the artwork of former Olympians like Oerter. The plan is to remodel a city building in downtown Fort Myers as a museum. The extension gives the group until the end of the year to use $450,000 in county funding.

Oerter said the city recently received permission to fly the Olympic flag at the facility.

Al Oerter won Olympic gold in the discus in 1956, 1960, 1964 and 1968.

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