The Avila Beach Pier is closed for the foreseeable future with construction to repair the pier underway.
“We spent a long time figuring out how exactly we were going to repair the pier on limited funds, and we were able to get grant funding to be able to do that along with donations from the public,” said Port San Luis Harbor District Facilities Manager Chris Munson.
Due to safety concerns, half of the pier has been closed since 2015.
“Right now, we are focusing on repairing the narrow portion, or the trestle of the pier, and that will allow access to the end of the pier,” said Munson.
The Friends of Avila Pier have offered up a significant donation to the cause.
“Even though it's closed down now, that's a short-term problem that will be fixed in a matter of months,” said Friends of Avila Pier Secretary and Treasurer Ron Pigeon.
Port San Luis Harbor now has slightly over $2 million in its budget.
“We supplied the last $245,000 that they needed, all from donations that we've received since 2019,” said Pigeon.
“They’re replacing the decking in the railing,” said Munson. “Next month, we're going to actually have some of the pile repairs done.”
The first stage of restoration for the pier is expected to cost $2.5 million.
“We want to make the repairs and we want to do it right,” said Munson. “We don't want to just slap a Band-Aid on it that we're going to have to come back in five years and fix.”
Residents say the Alive Beach Pier is a landmark.
“We'd fish out here all the time,” said Richard Fields, Avila Beach resident. “We would go out to the little store at the end, a bait and tackle shop.”
“To have that restored with respect, rather than just ignore it and have it fall off into the ocean means a lot,” said Magi Miles, Avila Bech resident.
Residents say the restoration has been a long time coming.
“This is a beautiful town to be able to go out there and see wildlife out there on the water,” said Pigeon.
“It's just sad to see it not open right now, but good to know that it's going to get fixed,” said Fields. “It's a setback for the community, but it's going to be very advantageous when it's open.”
“We're hoping that this restoration will just bring even more people back to appreciate this magical village,” said Miles.
Munson said the hope is that part of the pier can be reopened after the winter.
As of right now, the entire pier restoration is expected to take two years to complete.
Part of the reconstruction of the pier includes bringing the deck boards closer together so it is ADA accessible.
While the current construction project is in the first stage of the Harbor District’s renovation plan for the Avila Pier, the Friends of Avila Pier is raising funds for the second and third stages of the project.
According to the Friends of Avila Pier, anyone who donates $1,000 or more will be recognized with a plaque on the refurbished pier, unless they choose to remain anonymous.
Donors of $15,000 or more will receive more prominent recognition on the pier.
The expectation for the second and third stages is to complete the decking on the wider portion at the end of the pier while adding new restrooms, repairing the boat landing, and repairing deteriorated pilings.
To contact the Friends of Avila Pier, email the organization at FriendsOfAvilaPier@gmail.com.