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Is the St Johns County Pier at the End of its Lifespan?

st johns county pier

St Johns County pier. photo: 2016

 

As St Augustine Beach rises in the votes for one of the best beaches in the USA on Tripadvisor, the pier continues to take a licking from the waves, weather and rising tides.

Over 30 years old, the St Johns County pier is at the end of its lifespan and in need of a facelift. The last renovation happened in 2012. At that time, the St. Johns County Commissioners approved $300,000 for repairs to extend the life of the pier. Depending on the weather, the renovation of the pier was scheduled to last roughly ten years. The repairs included concrete reinforcement and repair of the pilings. In 2012 the upper decking was also repaired and the large beams that lie underneath the decking were replaced.

st johns county pier (16)

Waves wash against the pilings at the pier. photo: 2016

The pier was built in 1986 at the cost of $1 million. In 1984, a 1000-foot pier was built that was eventually destroyed by a storm. The 1984 pier had been designed incorrectly and insurance funds paid for the current pier.

At the Tourist Development Council meeting last month, a discussion about the condition of the pier came up. Billy Zeits with the county parks and recreation department gave information about the popularity of the pier as well as the improvements to the pier gift shop and visitor information center. The gift shop has seen an increase in revenues generated from pier admissions and sales of close to $15,000 a month. Not nearly enough to cover the cost of a new pier. Some members suggested adding a restaurant at the end of the pier to help cover the cost.

Although the TDC can allocate funds for the pier from the bed tax collected, it has a diminutive amount of money to put in the kitty, and not nearly enough to fund the entire construction project. It is estimated a new pier would cost anywhere from $8 million – $12 million. An engineering study of the pier will be done later this year to assess the condition of the pier. It was suggested that the construction costs be a cooperation between intergovernmental agencies or a public-private partnership.

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