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Causeway tolls lifted for part of the weekend thanks to donation

By Staff | Sep 21, 2018

Sanibel Causeway motorists will not have to pay a toll on Sept. 22-23 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

A donation from the Southwest Florida Community Foundation will cover the costs as a way to encourage locals to support Captiva and Sanibel businesses, many of which are feeling economic impacts from the lingering red tide.

Message boards will inform motorists of the hours and dates when tolls will be covered.

The donation comes as the county hosts the annual Island Hopper Songwriter Festival, which runs Sept. 21-30, with events on Captiva scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. For more information, visit www.islandhopperfest.com.

The county also has launched a #OneLee campaign, which showcases deals from local businesses to motivate people to shop, dine and play locally. For more information, visit www.onelee.biz.

Efforts by the city of Sanibel and Lee County continue on the islands’ beaches and shorelines to pick up dead fish and other marine debris that has been killed by red tide and has washed inland. For an update on red-tide cleanup funding and efforts, visit www.leegov.com/waterqualityinfo.

Parking fees have been suspended for the beaches on Sanibel and Captiva.

The donation from the foundation toward the tolls is a separate foundation effort from one announced earlier this month called SWFL Cares. That fund is designed to collect donations to be dispersed through United Way-affiliated nonprofit organizations to help families and individuals who have seen lost wages and other economic impacts due to red tide and blue-green algae. The foundation has already dispersed nearly $30,000 in donations. For information, visit floridacommunity.com.

The Island Hopper Songwriter Fest is partnering with the foundation on the effort. Music fans can make a donation by texting GIVESWFL to 444999. Donations will go to the SWFL Cares Fund.

After the Captiva weekend events, the festival moves to downtown Fort Myers on Sept. 24-27 and then wraps up on Fort Myers Beach on Sept. 28-30.

The Lee County Parks and Recreation Department is waiving parking fees now through Sept. 30 at Lynn Hall Memorial Park, at 950 Estero Blvd., and Bowditch Point Park, at 50 Estero Blvd., both on Fort Myers Beach. The fee waiver mirrors a decision last week by the Town of Fort Myers Beach to extend the free parking at its sites until the end of the month to assist businesses impacted by red tide.