Meghan McRoberts reports
FORT PIERCE, Fla. -- As hurricane season is wrapping up for the year, some are already looking to the next hurricane season when it comes to safety.
A chain of barrier islands being built off the coast of Fort Pierce is making progress.
Nearby businesses hoping next hurricane season will be worry free because of them.
Pictures show the damage the Fort Pierce City Marina saw after Hurricane Frances in 2004.
"It looked like a little Beirut," said Dean Kubitschek, Director of the Fort Pierce City Marina. "We had concrete docks that were located everywhere. Boats were totally submerged."
The storm pounded the coastline, leaving the area in disarray. "It was one of the worst nightmares you wished you never encountered," said Kubitschek.
When the water subsided, one question remained. "How can we ever prevent this from happening again?" Kubitschek asked.
With some insurance money and help from FEMA, a solution came to flourish. The plan is to build 12 man-made barrier islands and a peninsula, all built to withstand a 100-year storm.
The islands break waves, protecting waterfront businesses. The islands have been constructed. Kubitschek already notices calmer water.
The islands were also designed to compliment the Indian River Lagoon. Though bare now, mangroves and thousands of plants will cover the islands.
They'll also become home to wildlife and oyster beds.
The final phase of the project will begin in February. 150 boat slips will be constructed on the east side of the marina, where they were before the storm.
The entire project is expected to be complete by 2015.