Last week, Fairhope City Council approved a new plan for the Fairhope Municipal Pier renovations. The RESTORE Act funded $6.2 million of the project, which paid cities affected by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill for repairs.
The original announcement and rendering were released in May 2020 and dubbed the “Working Waterfront” project at its inception. However, discourse on where exactly the RESTORE funds should be spent made the project somewhat dead in the water (pun intended).
Now, facing deadlines to use or lose the RESTORE act funds, Fairhope City Council drastically pulled back the scope of pier renovations and was able to push through a simpler measure last week, still under the name “Working Waterfront.”
The main focus of the project is safety. Years of storms and thousands of tourists have threatened the structural integrity of the pier itself. Currently, part of the pier is closed for renovation after damages caused by Hurricane Zeta in October 2020.
The reworked Working Waterfront plan addresses these structural issues as well as addressing the aesthetics of the Fairhope Pier area:
Bulkhead repair and improvements in South Beach Park and Pier Landing;
Pedestrian safety, including improving and upgrading existing facilities to be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act
Rebuild the fountain and the rose garden on the existing location and current size with upgraded equipment
Pier upgrades, including lighting, handrails, crab piers and deckingPrioritized items for the new Working Waterfront project, via City of Fairhope
However, the Working Waterfront plan is not officially in action yet. Fairhope City Council only approved the scope of repairs–meaning that each repair has to go through a bidding process to begin.
The next Fairhope City Council meeting is scheduled for May 10, 2021.