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Avila Pier project gets $1.25 million grant

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The Port San Luis Harbor District has more than half of the funding it needs to reopen the Avila Pier after receiving a $1.25 million Wildlife Conservation Board grant.

District Facilities Manager Chris Munson said the grant is just one of several that the district applied for to fix the pier, which has been closed since 2015 due to storm damage, deterioration, and wear. The district is also hoping to get grants from the Coastal Conservancy, Wildlife Conservation Board, and the Division of Boating and Waterways.

PHOTO COURTESY OF FRIENDS OF AVILA PIER
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF FRIENDS OF AVILA PIER

Grant funds will be used to mend or replace damaged piles and other components. The repairs also include an ADA accessible path along the length of the pier.

In addition to the Wildlife Conservation Board's Public Access Grant, the Avila Beach Community Foundation awarded the project $10,000 in 2019.

He said rehabilitating the pier for full use and ensuring that the repairs withstand 25 years of use is estimated to cost the district $2.5 million.

As the district continues to work on funding the project, Munson said, the plan to repair the pier is still underway.

The current plans for restoration created by engineering firm Moffat and Nichol include two phases. Initially, repairing five to 10 piles would allow for pedestrian access and limited vehicle and emergency access. The second phase includes repairing 30 to 40 more piles with needed monitoring on a five-year basis going forward.

Once the plan is completed, Munson said it will go before the California Coastal Commission for approval, the project will be issued for public bid, and repairs could begin as soon as spring 2021.

To assist with fundraising, the Friends of Avila Pier is seeking donations from the community. The nonprofit is currently in the middle of a quiet campaign, President Tom Swem said, that involves reaching out to interested Avila Beach community members. Swem said the nonprofit doesn't want to disclose the total amount of donations so far, but the nonprofit is slated to raise a quarter of the total project cost.

People interested in donating can visit avilapier.org.

The pier he said, is important not only to the local community but for visitors from all over. It's a place where people make memories like proposing marriage or recreate by getting up at midnight to fish, when it's safe to do so.

"It's the people's pier," Swem said. Δ

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