Residents of Florida city destroyed by hurricane cling to hope of rebuilding
Hurricane Michael demolished 85 percent of the structures in Mexico Beach last October, wiping foundations clean of vacation homes and cinder-block cottages, ripping roofs and exterior walls from businesses and scattering the contents among thousands of tooth-picked long-leaf pines.
The city’s operating budget is $3.5 million. It cost $30 million to remove debris from the canals, and total restoration is expected to top $239 million.
It’s hard to ignore the realty signs dangling in front of storm-scoured, weed-strewn lots. If you attempt to count them all, just along the five-mile stretch of Highway 98, you will quickly lose track. If you drive down the side roads — none of which have street signs now — you’ll find so many for sale signs that you will give up the endeavor.
But there is another sign in Mexico Beach that offers a glimmer of hope: “Not for Sale.” Some residents, weary of the daily onslaught from deal-driven developers, decided to issue a strong message to opportunistic outsiders: “Original 98 MB Not for Sale: We love our neighbors and our community.”
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Photo credits: Charlotte Kesl/For The Washington Post