Favorite attraction or money pit? Millions poured into Daytona Beach's iconic pier
DAYTONA BEACH — Daytona Beach’s original pier, built in 1900, had only been standing in the waves for a few years when it was pummeled by a hurricane. The pier survived the beating, but then in 1919 it was destroyed by a fire.
The current pier and the building on top of it were constructed in 1925. That new pier, located at the eastern tip of Main Street, stretched 1,000 feet past the shoreline.
Storms and hurricanes have chewed away at the wooden span over the past century, and now the pier is 260 feet shorter.
Those fierce winds and pounding waves that batter the pier every summer have also taken large bites out of city coffers. In the past decade alone, the city has spent at least $5.5 million repairing the iconic structure.
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Now the city is getting ready to spend another $1.5 million to repair the pier damage inflicted last fall by tropical storms Ian and Nicole.
Here's a look back at past Daytona Beach Pier repairs and the big bills they rang up.
Major Daytona Beach Pier overhaul was pricey
In 2009, the pier jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean was in rough shape. There were holes that opened directly to the water below. Some top city officials worried the structure was perilously close to toppling into the Atlantic.
So the city shut down the span from November 2009 until June 2012, and proceeded to tackle extensive repairs and get the pier's building ready for Joe's Crab Shack restaurant to move in. The city's final bill: $3.8 million.
The city has more than recouped that $3.8 million. Joe's Crab Shack has made $4.8 million in rent payments to the city since it opened on the city-owned pier in 2012.
Hurricane Dorian wallops Daytona pier
The pier overhaul completed in 2012 restored the pier's stability and attractiveness, but the harsh oceanfront environment and strong storms gradually took a toll. Maintenance and repair was done to keep up with damage, and then in 2019 Hurricane Dorian blasted the structure.
The pier underwent $1.2 million of repair and reinforcement work in 2020, which included repairing and replacing cross-bracing and decking as well as installing supportive collars on pilings under the pier’s east end.
Other maintenance was also performed on the pier substructure. Some of the pier’s piles were rotten, detached, split and cracked.
In 2021, the city spent another $110,170 on pier repair work, city records show.
Fishing section of Daytona pier shut down
A year ago, city officials closed the section of the 740-foot-long wooden span farthest out into the ocean because of damage to its pilings and cross-bracing caused by heavy surf.
The eastern tip of the local landmark, where people can fish, was closed for several weeks while repairs were made. The city spent $188,077, records show.
Another $1.5 million in pier repairs
The pier, which has been designated as a certified historic structure by the National Park Service, endured back-to-back assaults last year from Tropical Storm Ian in late September and Tropical Storm Nicole in early November.
As the pair of storms tore through the area, 16 of the pier's pilings were swept away, cross braces and joists snapped, and decking splintered.
The easternmost end of the pier was shredded and is undergoing extensive repairs. That fishing section of the pier will remain closed for at least a few more months.
The total expenditure for the latest round of repairs will tally at least $1.56 million. The city hopes to eventually be reimbursed for its pier repair expenses by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Restoration work began in the fall and is still months away from completion.
You can reach Eileen at Eileen.Zaffiro@news-jrnl.com
This article originally appeared on The Daytona Beach News-Journal: Daytona has spent millions on iconic pier over the years