Mexico Beach mayor says town is "open"

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MEXICO BEACH, Fla. (WTVY) - Plenty of work is underway in Mexico Beach. Houses are being re-built and restaurants are re-opening.

Mexico Beach Mayor Al Cathey's message is that the town is open.

Still a lot of empty lots, but people are doing what they can to fill those in.

"It's hot and smoky and the bugs are horrible and we can't wait to be back in a restaurant," said Mango Marley’s General Manager Jessica Schwark.

Jessica Schwark has been running Mango Marley's out of a food truck since November and she's clearly ready to move back inside.

But it's about more than just comfort.

"We're all looking forward to having Mango Marley's back because it's a little piece of Mexico Beach that we're familiar with and we're looking for that normal to go back to,” said Schwark.

Mango Marley’s is set to open back in its old building before the end of the year.

For Mayor Al Cathey, the restaurant working to get back to normal symbolizes the whole town.

"You don't even have to talk to people coming through our town; all you have to do is look,” said Cathey. “There's ladders, there's trucks, there's electricians, there's plumbers. We're a bee of activities."

Cathey hopes that ‘bee hive of activity’ will be bolstered by the re-opening of Highway 98 and the canal -things that may bring people in for more than just work.

"If we can offer a good clean beach and they want to come for a day, please come,” said Cathey. “If you want to come fishing, our canal is open, our boat ramp is open. You can get to the Gulf. We're open."

Getting to the Gulf is something Kevin Older and his brothers missed for months.

"With everything the way it was before, I'm glad that everything is getting worked on, everything's getting better,” said Older. “I hope with this canal getting opened these fish will be out and about getting serious."

Even if the fish are not ‘out and about’, it's nice that people in this area can use the canal again to maybe get a break from having to think about the work that's still left to do.