MEXICO BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — It’s been a long hard road for Mexico Beach, still recovering from its direct hit by Hurricane Michael in 2018.
More than four years later and signs of recovery are everywhere.
Charles Smith’s family has owned the Gulf View Motel since the mid-80s.
Over the years he’s put a lot of work into the business.
“Before the hurricane, I was remodeling the motel,” Smith said. “I was just about ready to be finished and then the hurricane came along and wiped out my motel around me. I had to completely rebuild. The process has been long and tedious.”
Since that day, Smith has slowly rebuilt the motel from the ground up, keeping in mind what happened.
“It should be able to withstand another Cat-5 hopefully if my neighbor’s house doesn’t blow into it,” Smith said.
On Monday, he officially reopened it.
“I’m really glad to be open, really glad to be open,” Smith said. “I haven’t been working in almost five years, and it really does feel good to be open. I’m getting a lot of calls and a lot of people, my old customers are calling back.”
Another Mexico Beach staple is also building back. Groundwork is being done to prepare for the return of the popular Toucan’s on the Beach restaurant.
“As Mexico Beach continues to rebuild, we need more tourism attractions,” Mexico Beach City Administrator Douglas Baber said. “Toucans being here in Mexico Beach was always the staple. Whenever you were in Mexico Beach, you stopped in and enjoyed yourself. We look forward to having them back here in Mexico Beach as we continue to grow.”
Final plans have been submitted to the building department and work should be complete by Summer 2024.
That’s not all, Baber said the El Governor Motel will partially open in May.
“Just to see some bright, shiny paint and buildings going up here are being reconstructed the right way, controlled growth by our city council in Mexico Beach has been the key and I believe I’m looking forward to a bright future here in Mexico Beach,” Baber said.