Half of the Jacksonville Beach Pier reopened Thursday morning following repairs to damage caused by hurricanes Matthew in 2016 and Irma last year.
On Tuesday the Jacksonville City Council approved a measure to reduce the lease rate charged to the pier’s management company by 80 percent, due to the loss of revenue that has been sustained since the closure of the pier.
Council approved the Dania Pier Management Corporation's request to reduce the rent from $5,500 to $1,100 a month.
The rent will return to $5,500 a month once all repairs to the pier are completed, according to Mayor Lenny Curry’s office.
The rest of the pier, including the large T-share at the end of the pier, is scheduled to be completed by April 2018.
Anglers and walkers were quick to visit the pier when it reopened at 6 a.m. They got back in their routine and surveyed the repairs.
Lynn Riggins has been coming to the pier since it first was built in 2004 after the original pier was destroyed by Hurricane Floyd in 1999, and wanted to know how it would change after the storms.
“We been waiting on the pier to reopen since it was damaged by the storms and we had to come the first day,” Riggins said.
While not fishing on Thursday, Harrison Leviner of North Carolina, came to the pier at least twice a month before it was closed for repairs. He said he came on the first day to see what had was different before he went fishing on the pier.
Many that were fishing said that with the T-shape section still under construction, the fish weren’t biting as much as they do in the deeper waters.
Steven Williams of Fleming Island made the drive with his wife to return the pier. They set up their poles just feet from their usual fishing spot, which hasn’t reopened yet. During the closure, the pair did their fishing in Ponte Vedra.
“We just wanted to see what it gonna be like,” Williams said.“ We’re happy with what we are seeing and we are just waiting on the fish.”
The cost to visit the pier is $1 for spectators and $3 for those who wish to fish. Children under the age of six are admitted free.
The pier is open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., according to the City of Jacksonville Beach’s website. The hours are reduced December through March to 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Jacksonville Beach’s website states the hours may be adjusted.
Joslyn Simmons can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 904-358-6316.