Flagler Beach Pier repairs close to completion

By Brittany Jones, Flagler County Reporter
Last Updated: Monday, April 17, 2017, 9:56 PM EDT

The crews who are working on the Flagler Beach Pier are up against the clock to get part of the pier open in just days to make sure it's ready for a major upcoming event.

Denise Collins has been planning this year's "Cheer at the Pier" for months, and has shepherded the event for the last three years. But, she said Hurricane Matthew created the need for some extra work.

  • Flagler Beach Pier lost 163 feet during Hurricane Matthew
  • Crews been working for months to repair the pier
  • May be open in time for Cheer on the Pier event

"There were a lot more checks and balances that needed to be done, it was a lot more involved," Collins said.

Collins is now focused on the pier reopening in time for the weekend.

"We joke and say it could've become 'cheer near the pier.' Unfortunately, this is the whole draw of the event, are people wanting to get back out there and enjoy that scenery," said Collins.

Crews were working hard and quickly Monday to pull up old damaged planks up and lay new planks down.

Restaurant tents for sampling, a band and heavy coolers with drinks and adult beverages will be on the pier, which is still in process of receiving temporary repairs.

The pier has to be inspected by a structural engineer, and he must clear it first before releasing it for the event.

"What's going to be able to be on the pier, how heavy are those items going to be, and where's the best place for them," said Larry Newsom, city manager.

Larry Newsom said normally the pier, before being damaged by the hurricane, could hold 450 people for this event but this time maybe about 300 since there will be less pier open to the public.

Newsom said about 250 feet of the pier will be open for the event. The pier lost 163 feet during the storm. The coordinator will have a counter standing at the pier gate to count the number of people going in and out to make sure there aren't too many people on it at once.

"We'll have the police out here and firefighters, as well, just to keep an eye on things, but with this crowd I don't think it'll be a problem," said Newsom.

The event is also an economic booster ,and what keeps the city's museum running each year, so the money is needed.

While the fate of the event lies in the hands of the engineer Thursday, Collins said she is remaining pretty optimistic.

"We're absolutely convinced -- fingers crossed -- that we're going to be out there," said Collins.

Newsom said ultimately the goal of the temporary repairs is to make sure the pier isn't damaged by future storms. He said the entire pier probably won't be open until the end of May.