SAN DIEGO — It was a gorgeous day in San Diego Saturday, but a popular beachfront destination, a part of the inaccessible landscape, was shut down.
A major effort is underway to restore or replace this local treasure: Ocean Beach Pier. Too many severe winter storms have battered the pier for too many years.
"It's painful to see the damage it receives with each recurring storm," said Long-time resident Celia Corral.
Opening in the summer of 1966, half a million people stop by Ocean Beach Pier yearly.
"They want it to be open, and unfortunately, it is so beaten up right now, it's just not safe; under the water is even worse than above the water, so that's the danger. We want to build a stronger pier with more modern technology," said San Diego District Two Councilmember Dr. Jennifer Campbell.
The next step is the Ocean Beach Pier Renewal Project. The renewal project is expected to end constant, expensive patchwork repairs.
"It is not a wise use of taxpayer dollars. Re-opening the pier as soon as possible is an important priority, but ultimately, we can't keep doing this every year; we need to solve the problem; this pier is very old, very weathered, and needs a new life," said San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria.
The first of several community workshops was held at Liberty Station Saturday morning to get public input for design options.
The pier brings joy to locals and tourists alike.
"Sometimes it's just nice for me to go out there on my little scooter and watch the sunset, watch the surfers, talk to fishing people. A nice way to spend the day," said Celia Corral.
"I'd like to see more art on the pier; some mosaics would be nice; maybe made by the local school children or mermaids; and some solid railings that aren't put together with spit and glue," said local handyman Matt Baker.
Alice Schmid shared, "For me, the pier is a fantastic opportunity for the community to get together and connect with the nature part of it, as well as the local businesses and stores and everything that makes OB, OB."
The pier renewal will cost upward of $40 million dollars, with funding from federal, state, local, and other sources and it will take years to complete.
The goal is an Ocean Beach Pier that would last into the next century.
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