SAN DIEGO — The long-awaited reopening of the Ocean Beach Pier finally arrived Saturday morning, just in time for the Fourth of July weekend and the site’s 57th anniversary.
“This is a pleasant surprise it’s open now,” Ocean Beach resident Karen Braun said to FOX 5. Saturday morning was warm and overcast, but Braun said the unlocking of the gate at the historic pier after the months-long closure made it better.
Braun, who was out with her grandson, Wyatt, said that she could not wait to get back to their regular pier walks.
“That is special, because in today’s world you don’t always get to spend time,” Braun said. “Kids are busy. They are in school and everything, so we haven’t been out here in a long time … (to) feel the air and talk about the people surfing.”
City officials closed the pier in January out of an abundance of caution after powerful winter storms damaged parts of the boardwalk. After an assessment from a consultant in May, the pier was determined to be safe for reopening.
According to the city, only minor surface-level damage was identified on the pier’s railings, buildings and sewer pumps during the visual assessment.
“Nice to get back to some water after the dessert,” said Brianna Kozlowski, a visitor at the beach from Arizona. Kozlowski and a friend she was with soaked in the unexpected opportunity.
“We walked down, we stopped by the little shack, little cute store,” Kozlowski said of their day exploring the pier, “got a magnet for our friends back home.”
It was a back-home moment for a pier visitor from Minnesota, John Burke. Burke grew up in Oceanside, but he said Saturday was his first time getting to walk the Ocean Beach Pier with his family.
“Being on the beach and having pictures of the pier, at least now we can say we’ve been out on the pier,” Burke said.
During the time that the pier was shuttered, the city began started holding information sessions to gather community input on a potential replacement project called the “Ocean Beach Pier Renewal.”
While the pier was concluded to be structurally safe, city officials said they’d be continuing with the renovation, given the structure’s likely continued deterioration.
After such a long closure, its reassuring to some residents of Ocean Beach that the city will be working on refurbishing the structure.
“It feels good because it’s very rare to come back because no one thinks it’s going to be back open,” Braun’s grandson, Wyatt, said.
Neighbors and visitors are excited to once again enjoy the longest concrete pier on the West Coast this holiday weekend.
“It’s really nice, you feel really good and relaxed. It’s perfect,” Kozlowski said.
“The air and the breeze. I don’t know. I just like the atmosphere,” Braun continued.
The city said they plan to present design options for the pier’s renovation in the coming months, using the feedback the officials received from the community.