NAPLES, Fla. — More than a year after Hurricane Ian wiped out the iconic Naples Pier, plans are underway and close to finished.
"We're stronger than any kind of natural disaster that hits us like that," said Chad Merritt, facilities director for the city's parks and recreation department.
Merritt says the plans to rebuild the Naples Pier are just a week from getting finalized and with a $20 million total expected cost. "We feel that it's going to be a lot more user-friendly and we just feel like it's going to represent Naples," said Merritt.
Merritt notes the pier will be built 3 feet taller than the original but with ADA accommodations still as a top priority so everyone can enjoy the pier. The final product includes wide ramps for wheelchair users and moving the concessions from the Gulf end of the pier to the shoreline end. "We have added some bump outs that allow someone who may be in a wheelchair to pull up and view without an obstruction, because we had the railing lowered so that they can have a clearer view," said Merritt.
Along with focusing on the piers stability so it withstands any future storms, Merritt says the new pier will be a place for people to go and savor the sites.
"I felt like it's that last phase for us to be able to say we defeated Hurricane Ian," said Merritt.
Merritt notes that next the bid on the project will be up for grabs and depending on the start date it could be an 18 to 24 month project if all goes well.