LISTEN: Pinellas County Park Reopens Fishing Pier Thursday

FORT DESOTO PARK -- One of the two fishing piers at this Pinellas County Park reopens Thursday, after a five-million-dollar rebuild.

The Bay Pier at Fort DeSoto Park, off the south end of Pinellas County where Tampa Bay empties into the Gulf, was torn down and reconstructed in the same spot, to minimize environmental impact.

Robert Meador was project manager on the design of the new pier. He says it includes lowered spots for people to fish from wheelchairs, in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. It also includes new fish cleaning stations, which Meador says will help the environment. It also has special low-level deck lighting with a special pole lighting at the end facing the water. The lighting is specially constructed to avoid confusing sea turtle hatchlings.

The design cost just over $800,000. Meador says it was paid for with federal transportation money, since the pier includes a landing for the Egmont Key ferry. Construction came in at $4.4 million, $300,000 under bid, funded with the Penny for Pinellas sales tax.

Thursday, Pinellas Commission chair Janet Long and other dignitaries will be on hand for a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The original Bay Pier was built in 1943, reconfigured in 1960, reconstructed in 1984, and repaired in 2007.

Hear more about the Bay Pier rebuild in our Beyond the News podcast, linked below.

Photo: Pinellas County Government

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