Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
First Coast

Part of Jacksonville Beach Pier Expected To Reopen In Spring of 2018

jax_beach_pier_drone20161009193905_8164606_ver1.0_1280_720.jpg
News4Jax
/
Hurricane Matthew's storm surge and massive waves washed away 350 of the Jacksonville Beach Pier, city manager George Forbes told News4Jax after the Oct. 2016 storm.

Half of the Jacksonville Beach Fishing Pier will be repaired and is expected to reopen in April, approximately a year-and-a-half after it was damaged by Hurricane Matthew.

But it could take another two years to finish the rest of it.

Jacksonville City Council member Bill Gulliford summed up the pier’s progress this way:  “Well, sounds like half the pier is good, the other half is not so good.”

The now-closed pier used to be about a quarter-of-a-mile long. In a city meeting Wednesday, Gulliford said the half that is closest to land is on track to be repaired and reopened in the spring with work scheduled to begin next week.

City of Jacksonville officials said the current repairs are estimated to cost about $750,000. The funding will come from $800,000 that was set aside for pier repairs before Matthew hit.  

The second half of the pier’s planned restoration will be studied to determine what kind of redesign would work best.  City of Jacksonville officials don’t want to have to rebuild it again after another storm.  

Gulliford said one idea being considered is to raise it higher.  “That certainly had a lot to do with the damage of the existing pier and so if you get it up higher, then that storm surge has a greater distance to go before it starts impacting the decking,” he said.

Councilman Tommy Hazouri said this could be an opportunity to add amenities to the pier, so that there’s more to do than just fish.  

“I think it needs to be a tourist destination for the beaches and for Jacksonville, whether it’s a restaurant or whatever they can do to create some imagination out there,” said Hazouri.

Sam Mousa, Jacksonville ’s chief administrative officer,  said that’s possibly but added it will take a vision and cash.

There’s no estimate yet for how much it will cost to fix the rest of the pier.

Lindsey Kilbride can be reached at lkilbride@wjct.org, 904-358-6359 or on Twitter at @lindskilbride.