State of the City August 2015
Naples Pier Renovation
The Naples Pier renovation has begun. The Pier was closed on July 6th and is expected to reopen by the end of October. The last major renovation occurred in two phases: half in the mid-1990s and the remainder in 2001. Dave Lykins, Community Services Director for the City, has assured us that the timing of these re n o v a t i o n s will allow the City to take a d v a n t a g e of reduced activity during the summer months and will not impact tourist season.
Many people have asked me, “Will the pier look the same?” Simply put, Yes! The City is renovating the Pier – not removing or replacing it. It will however have a bit of a different feel as we decided to use ipe (pronounced ee-pay) wood (also known as Brazilian Walnut) which should last more than 30 years.
Using this material is more difficult and more expensive, but it has the advantage of remaining much cooler to the touch and ipe is one of the densest hardwoods available. It has the same fire rating as concrete and steel and is so dense it does not float.
A large part of the process will be getting a barge with 30 foot sections of the new deck from Ft. Myers, where it is being constructed, to the Naples Pier. It is estimated that the barge, being pushed by a tug boat, will take five hours to arrive at the Naples Pier and will have to make that trip twice. The old 30 foot sections of decking will be removed and the new 30 foot sections inserted in place by crane. It should be very interesting to watch from the beach.
We are happy to have Manhattan Construction Inc. as the general contractor for both the Naples Pier and the restroom project. Along with many other building projects, they have built over 12,000 bridges.
As for the restroom facilities, Matt Kragh, of MHK Architecture & Planning, volunteered his services to design the renovated facilities. He has designed the restrooms to look as closely as the original Pier restrooms as possible with the added benefit of today’s modern conveniences.
Matt has assisted on a volunteer basis with numerous City projects, including the dog park, Baker Park and the Norris Center renovation.
Another exciting part of this project is that anyone interested in having a piece of the old Pier can purchase “a symbol of Naples Pier.” We are cutting the old planks into 12 inch pieces and selling them. The boards will be branded with the City seal and historical date on each plank.
We have many folks asking if and how they could have a piece of Naples history, we thought this was a perfect opportunity. In addition to the plank, you will receive a history of the Naples Pier prepared by the Naples Historical Society and authentication for each plank. I encourage anyone interested to contact our Community Services Department at 239.213.7120, or visit the City website at naplesgov.com and order it online.
The cost of this project is $2.4 million dollars. County Commissioners awarded Naples a $692,000 Tourist Development Council (TDC) grant for the renovation, which will be added to a $200,000 TDC grant that Naples has already received. The City also received $600,000 in TDC funding for the pier restrooms. The balance of the Pier restroom cost, $244,000 is funded from the Utility Tax Fund ($100,000) and from Beach Fund Reserves ($144,000).
Once renovations are complete, there will be three things our residents will notice immediately: the new ipe wood, the renovated restrooms and an added set of stairs on the south side of the Pier which will make for a better flow as people move on and off the Pier. In addition, all the lighting on the Pier will be turtle friendly. We realize we share the beach and want to protect all of our natural resources.
A TV monitor will be placed on the pier showing education materials, including information about turtles and their nesting seasons as well as the pelican release program and Naples fishing information.
The Naples Pier, built in 1888, is one of the most visited sightseeing and fishing attractions in southwest Florida drawing nearly 1.1 million visitors last year. I am excited for our residents and our visitors as I know this is something all of our friends and families can enjoy for years and years to come.
As always, I want to ask all of you who have ideas, suggestions or comments to contact me at 239.213.1000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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