NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Thirteen years after it was wiped out by Katrina, construction equipment is now being moved on site to replace hundreds of badly damaged or destroyed boat slips at Municipal Yacht Harbor.
FEMA has finally agreed to a price, and businesses hit hard are eager for work to be completed.
Since August 2005, Municipal Yacht Harbor has looked like a boat graveyard, but all that will be changing soon.
"It is kind of frustrating that it's taken this long, but it isn't because people weren't trying hard at it. There were a lot of people back there, really working," said boat repairman Cletus Junius.
Gone are the old fixed piling docks, in is a new floating dock system that is expected to be more storm resilient.
"The marina floats up and down as the water line floats up and down," said New Orleans deputy CAO Ramsey Green.
The project is welcome news for ship repair businesses at West End who have taken it on the chin due to the disappearance of a dock complex that at one time berthed 600 boats.
"Dramatically. I lost half my customer base for the last 13 years," said Junius.
The long-awaited project will have a smaller number of berths - around 450. But they will be equipped to handle larger boats, with full electrical capacity and fire suppression systems.
"We're clearing out underwater boats that have been making it difficult to navigate," said Green.
There is also a long-term plan for a community sailing center that should open up sailing for scores of New Orleanians who might not otherwise be able afford the sport. It will also house a rejuvenated Tulane University sailing program.
"I think it will mean a lot to bring sailing to people who may have never gotten on the water before," said Junius.
The city will also be moving to make improvements on Breakwater Drive.
"Around the end of the Breakwater to the passageway, we're bidding that in July," said Green.
Though this is one of most protracted post Katrina projects, work on Municipal Auditorium has also not begun, but the Cantrell administration hopes to change that.
"The mayor has made it clear what we're gonna do. Let's figure it out," said Green.
The city hopes that the new Municipal Yacht Harbor complex will be complete by the summer of next year.
Work to rebuild Municipal Yacht Harbor is now proceeding in two phases with work to rebuild 225 berths on the east side of the marina now underway.