The updated Pismo Pier made its debut Saturday, Oct. 20 after 18 months of renovations. The pier now has new wooden boards and steel piles, water refill and fish cleaning stations, upgraded water and electrical lines, additional seating and more.
The opening comes eight months ahead of schedule and just in time for the 72nd Annual Pismo Beach Clam Festival.
The pier underwent a complete renovation but still has the same charm and classic beach feel.
“When you walk on the pier, you want it to feel like a retro old pier, and so that’s why we went with wood,” Pismo Beach Senior Engineer Eric Eldridge said. “In Pismo, they’re all about the ‘classic California’ and for us, it’s wood on the pier that completes this look.”
Kazoo Beedo Beedo band member Sandy Davidson performed on a float during the Clam Festival parade and also attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the reopening of the pier.
“I am excited that it is happening — it’s felt like such a long time. We don’t get down here that often so it’s nice to be here today on a perfect Pismo day to see the pier reopening,” Davidson said.
Reconstruction of the pier was originally supposed to take 30 months. Because the old pier could not support the weight of the crane, the construction crew had to start at the beginning of the pier, moving 15 feet out per week. According to Eldridge, the experienced crew was able to complete 15 feet every four days instead of every seven, which put them months ahead of schedule.
“You can’t be out here without five or six people asking, ‘When’s the pier going to open?’ You realize that anyone who comes to Pismo for a visit walks out onto the pier and it’s been the one thing people haven’t been able to do,” Eldridge said. “I am excited to have it open to the public again.”
According to Pismo Beach City Manager Jim Lewis, the project was estimated to cost $8.8 million, but came in $600,000 under budget. The leftover money will go towards the purchase of two Airstream travel trailers for the pier and other small projects around the pier. Both Airstream trailers will be located on the first diamond of the pier — one being the new visitor center with souvenirs and information and the other one dedicated to vending food and bait.
The funds for the Pier Plaza are financed by a 1 percent Lodging Business Improvement District Assessment on Lodging Rents (rate paid per night).
They are also adding six informational boards along the length of the pier, with topics ranging from sea animal facts to the history of the pier and of the Chumash Tribe.
Psychology sophomore Matt Reed has lived in Pismo since he was four years-old and said the pier is the landmark of the city.
“Going to the pier was something I did a lot as a kid,” Reed said. “Pismo is supposed to be classic California and the pier is one of the first things that comes to my mind when I think of the city as a whole. It’s good to have the pier back.”
The city’s next plan is to tackle the pier plaza reconstruction. A financial package has been assembled to remove the existing parking lot and bathrooms to build a whole new plaza with new parking, more bathrooms and benches, art, permanent corn hole, a lawn for yoga and a venue for farmer’s markets and concerts.
“We’re really trying to jazz up the plaza area just outside the pier to make it become a living room for our community,” Lewis said.
The plaza design will seek approval at the planning commissions meeting Oct. 23 and then be presented to the council on Nov. 6 to obtain a permit. According to Pismo Beach Mayor Ed Waage, they hope construction will be underway in early 2019 and completed by summer 2019.