SAN DIEGO — The City of San Diego held their first public meeting on the Ocean Beach Pier renewal project Saturday afternoon.

Dozens of community members attended the meeting at the Liberty Station Conference Center, to hear more city’s redevelopment of the now defunct-pier and offer input on the new construction that will guide officials in their design.

“The city is authentically interested in what the public wants,” said San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria, who was present at the meeting.

Workshops during Saturday’s meeting helped officials determine what the public might want out of the pier, their favorite things about the old pier and what should be added to the new construction.

“Think it’s gonna make it that much better of an experience for everybody if its built to what everybody wants,” Trent White, an Escondido resident, said to FOX 5.

Any drawings or renderings of the new pier that the city might have at this time where not brought to the meeting.

Gloria said Saturday’s meeting served as a reminder to “everyone involved in this project this pier is beloved.”

“We have a responsibility to maintain and protect it and that work starts today,” Gloria continued.

The Ocean Beach Pier was built in 1966 and is the longest concrete pier on the West Coast. Prior to the closure earlier this year, an estimated half a million visitors stop by the pier a year.

“It’s an icon for San Diego,” White said. “It’s a wonderful place to bring friends and family when we have guests come to town — we almost always end up there.”

For longtime Ocean Beach resident Virginia Wilson, the pier has served as an escape.

“It’s a great place to walk out and get some perspective on things,” Wilson said. Get a little bit of distance and think things over.”

The pier has been accustomed to closing every winter, given that king tides that come in during the season cause extensive and expensive damage. According to Gloria, the city spends hundreds of thousands of dollars every year to repair this damage.

However, the pier’s restoration is not as simple as replacing the original 1960s build: a number of factors will have to be taken into consideration, Gloria explained.

“It’s everything from a changing climate, rising tides, historic preservation to coastal access,” he said. “There are a number of laws that developed since the pier was constructed that we have to follow and we will follow. If we are going to spend these limited taxpayer dollars, let’s make sure tax payers support the project.”

The city projects that workshops, environmental studies, design and permitting for the pier will last well into 2024 before any official action is taken.

The city promised to include the public in each step of the process of the pier’s restoration. The next meeting on the project is scheduled for June.

“(We’ll) hope for the best that it does become what the people want it to be and it will hold up for generations,” Wilson said.

“We just want to see this happen, we want to see it renewed (to) have more people enjoy it,” White said.