SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – A bigger and better Surfside Pier is on its way as the early engineering and architectural stages are wrapping up, according to Surfside Beach town council members.
The town has been granted nearly 10 million dollars by FEMA to fund the new pier that will be rebuilt for the fourth time in Surfside history, but for the first time with concrete instead of wood.
The decision was made by the last town council to make it out of concrete instead of wood indicating the change will be ‘indestructible.’ Hellyer tells News13 he and the rest of the council expect the pier to last a whole lot longer and will not have the maintenance fees we normally would if we built a wooden pier.
Construction is projected to begin during the early summer months. Once construction breaks ground, officials tell News13 they predict the project to take 18 to 22 months to complete.
Surfside Beach Town Council is near the end of the reviewing process, heading into the bidding process. Town officials have released these renderings.
Surfside Beach Mayor Bob Hellyer said the tentative plans will go out for bid, taking about sixty days. When the bid is finalized, the council plans to hold a conference for public interest, awarding the bid before starting the construction phase.
For residents, vacationers, and tourists, the Surfside Pier symbolizes one of many specialties the town has to offer. Surfside Beach Resident Tony Santoro walks out on this pier every day.
“It’s the freedom.. the openness, everything you need is here and walking distance. I walk most of the time. From here to the avenue you got your restaurants, supermarkets, libraries, people, everything’s here,” Santoro said.
“The public wants their pier and we want to give it to them so we’re working aggressively to get this done as quickly as possible but at the same time we need to be fiscally conservative as to how we do that,” Hellyer said.
After storms destroyed the pier in 2016, Surfside Beach officials say their tourist revenue decreased. “We want to bring our tourists back, we want to open up our destination and share it with the community,” Hellyer said.
The decision was made by the last town council to make it out of concrete instead of wood indicating the change will be “indestructible.” Hellyer and the rest of the council expect the pier to last a whole lot longer and will not have the maintenance fees we normally would if we built a wooden pier.
A multi-million dollar FEMA grant will help build the pier, but town officials say it’s not enough to fund the buildings. Council members suggest a line of credit will help town council fund building construction while waiting on FEMA reimbursement.
“It’s a long process and it’s a very intricate process that needs to be choreographed. We aren’t sure what our bids are going to come in, there are a lot of ifs involved in it but we are moving right along making progress and we are going to get this done,” Hellyer said.
Two businesses, Piers Outfitters and Licks Ice Cream, have shut down on the pier. One restaurant, Surf Diner remains open. Surfside Town Council is in negotiations with them to amend their lease or work out arrangements.