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Culture and Identity

Cayucos and its pier: together again

Jordan Bell

The Cayucos Pier is set to reopen this weekend after a two year closure. This week, crews pressure washed the renovated pier to clean it before it opens to the public. 

Nick Franco is the Director of County Parks, which has been operating the pier since the 1940s. He said no major restoration has happened until now.

"In July 2013, it was noticed that there were a number of pilings missing, and actually in the swells right around the Fourth of July celebration with a bunch of people on the pier, it was noticed that the pier was swaying pretty badly and it really became a public safety hazard," said Franco.

The roughly $3.5 million project was largely funded by the state and county, but was also propelled by locals who feel the pier is a vital part of the community.

Steve Hennigh is one of those people who feel strongly about the pier and its connection to the town. He runs a surf shop that has a large screen TV that constantly shows a live image of the beach and pier, along with surf conditions.

Hennigh said the pier's closure came as a shock, but it was time something was done to bring it back into working order.

"The timbers got completely decayed, it had to be replaced, or ditched or abandoned. It was very amazing how the community banded together to not abandon it," said Hennigh

Hennigh said the community raised more than $500,000—so much money, that some went into an endowment where interest will help pay for annually pier maintenance.

Just down the street from Hennigh's surf shop is Jim Ruddell, who owns a beachfront smokehouse. Ruddell said the pier is iconic and that without it, there'd be no Cayucos. He said tourists visit for the restaurants and shops, and the pier.

"Without the pier, our business district would be a lot more wanting than it is," said Ruddell. "The pier's a big deal."

The official ribbon cutting is on Saturday, but the public could be let onto the pier sooner if it's ready.

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