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Destin beach restoration project completed
DESTIN -- A beach restoration project in Destin is finally complete.
The project created a wider and taller shoreline along Holiday Isle.
The 7.5 million dollar project was funded through a bed tax and a "Municipal Benefit Tax Unit.
Anyone who vacationed here at Jetty East last year noticed there really wasn't much of a beach, but this restoration project has given Holiday Isle a whole new look.
Anne Hallecy has been vacationing here since the 1980s. She's seen a lot of changes over the years and remembers what happened to the beach at Jetty East, when hurricane after hurricane kept hitting the emerald coast.
"So much of it got washed away. it was literally up to the building"
It's the first time in many years she came back to see an actual beach.
Erosion has been such a problem here that in recent years, waves have literally crashed into the buildings.
Holiday Isle's beach was restored in 2010, but Tropical Storm Debby took a chunk out of it last year.
For this project, engineers renourished sand dunes with sea oats and other beach species, to prevent the beach from being worn away by storms.
"it's been like it used to be where there was more beach"
For Louisiana native Beau Vallot, he remembers when they started dredging out here last year. Now he can actually lay out on the beach, something he hasn't been able to do in years past.
"Last year we made one of two beach trips. Definitely a lot better trip this year"
Jetty East manager Lucky Stepp says they've already seen an increase in rentals and sales for the summer season. He's happy this restoration project is finished, and guests can now enjoy a whole new experience.
"Before they had no place to play... just 100 percent different"
There was a ribbon-cutting celebration at Jetty East at 10 Friday morning.