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Construction at Pismo Beach Pier greets New Year's Eve guests

Posted at 5:45 PM, Dec 30, 2019

The serene sound of crashing waves and the picturesque scene at Pismo Beach draw a large group of spectators to the pier for New Year's Eve but this year, a wall of fencing and heavy machinery makes the view a bit more of a challenge.

Construction on the Pismo Beach Plaza got underway in November, causing the temporary loss of 125 parking spaces and an impeded view of the iconic pier.

"We were a little disappointed because we wanted the girls to experience the beautiful view," said Erica Howell, who is visiting from Orange County with family.

Monday marked the first time Howell's three girls got to lay eyes on the Central Coast icon.

"It was kind of all torn up," Howell said. "They haven't really seen it yet, actually, because you can't really see it right now."

The ocean view is a true commodity, one hotel guests typically pay more for with their room selection.

"Guests do see (the construction) when they walk over or from their room but it's more of a curiosity as to what's going on," said Vespera on Ocean Hotel Manager Susan Garcia.

Garcia said complaints have been minimal and, in fact, the 4-month-old hotel is without a vacant room for New Year's Eve.

"We're gonna try out just a dinner this year," Garcia said. "We've already got over 100 reservations for that night."

Neighboring restaurants and shops are still seeing heavy foot traffic but some seaside staffers say it's the patience of guests that's running low.

"We drove down the street looking for the main spot we always go in and it was kind of trafficky," Howell said.

Getting to the pier may take more time but for many, the sunset is the perfect ball drop on New Year's Eve.

The project is expected to be completed this summer and will feature a family area complete with new bathrooms, showers, and a playground.