This week, the California Coastal Conservancy board of directors will consider approving $260,000 toward repair of the Pacifica Pier. That’s roughly a third of the total $736,000 repair price tag and entirely good news for city residents and businesses.

You’ll likely remember that the pier was damaged by a combination of high tides and large waves in Jan. 2021. A 40-foot section of the pier’s west-facing deck and concrete railings was destroyed. The pier was closed and a structural engineer gave the city the bad news: Most if not all of the railing panels would need to be replaced to avoid closing the entire pier in the future. In all, 110 of 164 such panels were damaged.

While the matter is due to come up during Thursday’s Coastal Conservancy meeting, we’re led to believe funding is a done deal. That’s good, since work is planned this summer and due to be finished in the fall.

The nearly 50-year-old, 1,100-foot-long, L-shaped concrete pier is (with apologies to Sam’s Castle, the Little Brown Church and a certain fast-food taco joint on the beach) the shining landmark of a city blessed with more natural wonders. That’s pretty amazing given that it was built originally as a structure to support pipes carrying sewage effluent out into the sea. These days, about 100 people a day stroll out onto the span. It’s also the vibrant heart of a Bay Area fishing community like no other.

The majority of funding for repairs ($500,000) comes from the California Department of Parks and Recreation. The city is kicking in another $76,000 toward a project that totals $736,000. Even with the addition of some in-kind services, that is a pretty good deal for city taxpayers who benefit from the pier even if they are inland and never step foot on the concrete span.

One key to overcoming what the city has described as a structural budget deficit, which is likely to get worse before it gets better, is attracting more tourists to Pacifica. The city is well positioned — mere minutes from hundreds of thousands of more or less landlocked Peninsula residents — to draw tourists who are forever drawn to the wind and waves of the mighty Pacific Ocean. Obviously, the only pier dedicated to recreation between Santa Cruz and San Francisco is a powerful attraction.

There are other things to encourage, from outdoor dining to preserving hiking areas, to marketing attractions like Rockaway Beach. Executing on a coherent Sharp Park Specific Plan will go a long way, as well as shoring up Beach Boulevard. The concrete span that figures in so many picture-postcard Instagram images of the city will remain in the center of it all, thanks to generous help from state funders.

— Clay Lambert



Clay Lambert is the editorial director for Coastside News Group. After years working at regional daily newspapers, he began as editor of the Half Moon Bay Review in 2004.

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