Hurricane Charley’s destructive swathe from Florida’s southern Gulf Coast through the center of the state caused an estimated $300,000 damage at Freedom Road affiliate Dusty’s Camper World, Bartow, and “pretty much destroyed” the Red Coconut RV Resort, a 250-site campground on Fort Myers Beach.
Other damage is likely to have occurred officials from Florida campground and dealership associations said, but because the storm caused widespread power and telephone outages they were having difficulty Tuesday determining the extent.
“There are several RV parks that were in its path that I have not been able to get a hold of,” said Dick Whalen, president of the Florida Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (Florida ARVC), and owner of Dunedin RV Resort, Dunedin, who evacuated 30 RVers staying at his park when forecasters were predicting Hurricane Charley would hit the Tampa area.
“Most of the damage primarily was from Fort Myers up to Arcadia,” Whalen said. “We’ve been told the Red Coconut was pretty much destroyed.”
According to Terry Crum, manager of Dusty’s Camper World, electricity at the dealership wasn’t restored until mid-morning Tuesday. “Our service drive canopy is gone, and it did quite a bit of damage to the building,” Crum said. “On the lot, we had 10 travel trailers that flipped upside down, and approximately 40 RVs on the lot were damaged.”
Crum said the dealership on Tuesday was in the midst of moving 25 travel trailers into the main area hit by the storm. “We are going to offer them for sale at a little above our invoice,” Crum said. “We are going to be there for people who might need temporary housing.”
Dave Kelly, director of marketing for the Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA), said the association had been unable to contact two Punta Gorda-area dealerships north of Fort Myers where Hurricane Charley’s eye made landfall. “I would have to assume there is some damage,” Kelly said. “They are right up the gut where it came ashore.”
Kelly said FRVTA will have to make a decision about whether it will go ahead with its annual convention Sept. 9-11 at the Sanibel Harbour Resort and Spa which sustained a moderate amount of damage during the storm.