NAPLES, Fla. — One year after Hurricane Ian hit Southwest Florida, plans for a new Naples Pier are in the final stages.
The 135-year-old Pier has been a symbol of Southwest Florida and Collier County for decades.
Since Hurricane Ian hit on September 28, 2022, much of the pier has been inaccessible.
Over the last couple months, renderings of a new pier is in the process of gaining approval from the Naples City Council.
Fox 4's Bella Line spoke with the Parks and Recreation Department one year after the storm, and they say they've come a long way from where it was one year ago.
“We know that living in Florida, we've got a paradise, but we do have the possibility for storm to come through," said Chad Merritt, Facilities Director of Naples Parks and Recreation.
A storm that changed many lives forever in just a matter of days is now being remembered after a year of resilience all over Southwest Florida.
"After the storm, everything, it seemed like a large step," said Merritt. "It seemed like there was no way in a year that we would be where we're at now.”
He says one year after Ian hit, the city is finalizing plans to rebuild the historic Naples Pier.
“When you go to the beach, you always have that item that everybody says now I feel like I'm at the beach. Well, the Naples pier is that for Naples," said Merritt.
Merritt notes the pier is the largest tourist attraction in Collier County and more than one million people visit it every year.
The pier is a special place for both visitors and locals of Naples and many are excited for its comeback.
"It’s going to be bigger and better," said Steven Daniels, a visitor of Naples. "Hopefully we can come and see this beautiful pier once it’s fully restored.”
Merritt says the department is finishing up the 90% plan, which has a few changes from the original renderings. Renderings of the project can be found here.
Regardless of which plan moves forward, the new pier will provide more showers, seating, and better wheelchair accessibility.
"We want to try to make sure that that everybody can come on here, be comfortable, and you can use it for whatever reason that may be," said Merritt.
Merritt tells Fox 4 the Parks and Recreation Department will present the newest renderings of the pier, which have not been made public yet, on October 16. They're hoping to be able to put out a bid for the project shortly after that.
Fox 4 will keep you up to date as the city finalizes these plans.