SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Surfside Beach Town Council unanimously voted to build the pier out of concrete, instead of going back to wood on Saturday.
“Plain common sense. You go with the better structure, you go with the better material that’s gonna last longer. And it’s an investment in our future,” said Councilman Randle Stevens. Council members made the decision after hearing a presentation from architects, engineers and financial consultants on different options for pier designs and building materials, and the associated costs. “We don’t know that once we got it up, some unfortunate incident similar to what’s happening in Texas and then the pier would be gone again.” Mayor Bob Childs said of choosing concrete over wood.
So far, the town has secured $5.6 million from FEMA to build he pier. The town will pay the remaining cost of the project, about $4 million, using accommodations and hospitality tax revenue. However, the town’s share of the cost could increase depending on what it chooses to build on the pier.Town officials are considering adding another building or even a two-story building. Several Surfside locals said they’re worried about those plans.
“It’s been an ongoing concern with us filling our highway with businesses. I do not see any guarantee that we’re going to fill that second story with businesses that will remain lucrative,” said one resident. Another said, “I don’t think we’ve ever had enough parking in this town and I don’t think we’re going to magically find parking for a second story with even more businesses.”
Business owners and residents also told town leaders they’re frustrated with how long the process is taking. “You think we had a bad year this year folks, you wait till next year and see what kind of year we’re gonna have.”
Mayor Childs said, best case scenario, a new pier will be up within the next year but that he can’t make any promises. “Anybody dealing with large funding like we’re doing, with the federal government, the wheels just don’t move as fast as you and I would like them to move. This takes a long time,” he said.
Town officials haven’t decided when they’ll vote on any possible additions to the pier.