JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. — The Jacksonville Beach Pier is a well-known landmark along the beach, inviting thousands of visitors and fishermen each year.
Tavaris Beaver spends much of his free time at the pier with a fishing pole in hand, hoping to land a catch.
"Maybe three or four times a week when I get off work," he said.
This place has been his go-to for fishing for 16 years. Later this year, he and others will have to find a new spot to cast a line because $8 million in repairs will be made to the pier as part of a reconstruction project from damage it sustained from recent hurricanes like Matthew.
"A lot of locals have been waiting a long time to get this pier get the attention it deserves," said Chuck McCue.
McCue is a lifelong resident of the beach and believes the pier improvements will be worth the two-year wait. Construction is expected to last into 2021.
"Lots of things happening here that's going in a positive direction in my opinion," he told First Coast News on Friday.
Renderings obtained by First Coast News show the pier with larger and stronger pilings with a slope of 8 feet. The deck is raised to make it sturdier to withstand even more extreme weather.
The pier isn't the only change happening on the beach. New hotels are being built and there's talk of adding a parking garage. McCue says there needs to be more parking options for visitors away from the shoreline.
"I think there is much more, much better things that can be put on the oceanfront other than condos and other than restaurants," he said.
The City of Jacksonville, which currently maintains the pier, extended the deadline for bids to Aug. 7. Those bids will be reviewed before a company is chosen.
The city says pier repairs could start in October or November.
The repair costs will first be covered through insurance and FEMA reimbursements. Any remaining funds will be covered by the city.