JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The campgrounds at Huguenot Memorial Park are open again after being closed for nearly two years since damage caused by Hurricane Matthew. Visitors and local businesses are happy to be able to go back out to Huguenot even though the main roadway into the park remains heavily damaged from the 2016 storm.
Revenue at Huguenot Memorial Park is driven by entrance fees, campground rentals and shelter rentals, so with the campground back up and running, things are finally getting back to normal.
When Hurricane Matthew slammed Jacksonville's coast two years ago, it changed the face of Huguenot Park, but a couple of weeks ago the campgrounds in the park opened back up for visitors.
Derek Frey camped there this weekend and is thrilled to be able to return.
"I, of course, love it. It's one of the few places you can camp right along the water. From the waterfront to the palm trees in the background you really couldn't create a better natural setting," said Frey.
Thirty-eight of the 72 campgrounds are back open again, with the remaining ones set to reopen by the spring.
Two shelters are available to rent, with a third under construction and expected to open soon.
Since Hurricane Matthew, the park has been working not only to bring back camping along the water, but also to fix the roads through the park.
"I remember being here before the storm hit. I was driving on the road and commented to my daughter this may be one of the last times we drive on this and it turned out it was. It was devastating," Frey said.
Crews will begin construction on a new permanent road for Huguenot Park this fall, hoping it will be ready next summer.