JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – After being closed for years, the Jacksonville Beach Fishing Pier is close to opening back up.
City Councilman Rory Diamond thinks people will be able to go on the pier again sometime this summer in either June or early July.
Construction repairs on the pier started in 2016 after it was severely damaged by Hurricane Matthew and the following year by Hurricane Irma.
Nearly six years after that initial blow, the rebuild project, which ran into some delays, is almost complete.
Diamond, who represents the beaches, said it has not been an easy process.
“We had trouble getting environmental permits and then COVID came along and slowed everything down, but we got right back on track,” Diamond said.
A two-year, almost $10 million renovation plan started in 2019 but quickly hit a roadblock in 2020 when the federal government was slow in getting the city permits.
Work has moved along since, giving Jacob Cain, who lives in the city, some optimism.
“Man, it was really rough for the fishermen,” Cain said. “The best thing I’ve heard -- because I’ve been wanting to go fishing on the pier since it’s been closed … since the storm tore it up.”
Others were not around during the hurricanes and only have this perspective.
“It just looks awful right now,” new Jacksonville Beach resident Bre White-Lambert said. “So to see it open and nice will be awesome.”
Diamond is anxious for the pier’s return.
“It’s going to be better than ever and now rises up 10 feet so that when the next 100-year storm comes (it can survive),” Diamond said.
Diamond also said that the fence currently at the pier will be taken out so people who visit can just walk out onto the pier and the $1 fee to access the pier will end.