Aug 15, 2013 8:41 PM by Keli Moore, KSBY News

People reach for their wallets to save the Cayucos pier

The community has stepped up to save a Central Coast landmark.

The seaward half of the aging Cayucos Pier has been closed since the beginning of July for safety reasons.

Restoring and/or rebuilding the pier will be costly and the state is not going to foot the bill, so the community has raised more than $65,000.

The Cayucos Pier Project has been selling t-shirts from its website and most weekends you can spot volunteers at the entrance of the pier where people can donate and get a receipt for tax write-offs.

Close to half of the donations have been people who don't live in San Luis Obispo County.

"We have received donations from a dollar to several thousands of dollars," said Greg Bettencourt, who is part of the Cayucos Pier Project.

The Elks Club of Cayucos gave $10,000 toward saving the pier Thursday, and the Cayucos Senior Club gave $5,000.

"Our second fundraising effort is actually just coming out this week and it is a mailer. It's a solicitation mailer that will go to the community and many visitors. So that should be in peoples' mailboxes this weekend," said Bettencourt.

He said the idea is to have donations commemorated.

"So for $1,000 you can sponsor the purchase of a plank and get your name or your business on that bronze plaque and have it on the pier," Bettencourt said.

The Cayucos Pier Project set a goal of raising $100,000, but restoring the pier is going to cost much more. The county says the cost should be around $2.1-million.

Time is of the essence because there is only one piling supporting the end the pier, 14 are missing and many aren't attached. As waves continue to pound against the pier, its condition will only get worse.

"We know that it is going to be a significant rebuild. We know that it is the county's goal to have it safe for potential winter storms, so they are having an engineering firm do an analysis now," said Bettencourt.

That firm is Shoreline Engineering out of Morro Bay.

"They think it can be refurbished. It needs to be stabilized for the winter," said Shaun Cooper, San Luis Obispo County Parks.

A full report should be complete by the end of the month.

The state owns the Cayucos Pier, but San Luis Obispo County Parks is in charge of its maintenance, so the county has turned to FEMA for help.

"They have millions of dollars available, so potentially, if the project would qualify, we could potentially offset the cost of making the pier better than it was originally," said Cooper.

FEMA can't pay for any existing parts of the pier that have deteriorated because this is considered maintenance. The county is also looking at possible grants from other funding agencies.

To donate to help save the Cayucos Pier click here.



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