SURFSIDE BEACH — Town Council received a first-hand look at ways to make the Surfside Beach Pier compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Earthworks Group engineering firm employee Steve Strickland had design plans in hand as he gave council members a rundown of renovation options Friday, which could be completed before next summer.
The required changes center on the ramp at the pier’s entrance, which needs to be widened and less steep to comply with regulations.
Strickland drew lines in the sand to show council members the scope of the proposed ramp, laying out where it would start and end on two different designs.
Town Council discussed a few design options trying to figure out which would meet the requirements at the most affordable price. One option included the demolition of the existing ramp for the installation of a new landing platform and stairs, along with a new ramp.
“We save a heck of a lot of money for the taxpayers by eliminating the demolition of the existing ramp,” said Councilman Randle Stevens. “I think we should look out for the taxpayer’s No. 1 and get the best bang for our buck and just keep the existing ramp. The ramp is in good shape.”
Councilwoman Mary Beth Mabry wasn’t sure keeping the existing ramp was the best idea.
“By keeping the existing ramp we’re going to lose an awful lot of parking and we desperately need parking down at the pier,” she said.
She was also worried about how the pier would look if they kept the ramp.
“The aesthetics alone has got to be worth some money,” she said. “We’re going to be looking like wood city either way we go … it’s just a lot of wood, it’s not going to be attractive and I would like to see us consider doing some aesthetics along with just doing what we have to do.”
In the end, Town Council voted unanimously on revised draft plans and asked Strickland to draft the permit applications that need to be submitted to the S.C. Department of Environmental Health and Control’s Office of Coastal Resource Management.
The plans would keep the existing ramp, and include a 6-foot wide ramp leading to a new door and awning on the western side of the pier. The ADA requires the ramp to be at least 5 feet across to allow wheelchairs to turn around.
The cost of the pier upgrades won’t be official until the project is bid, which Strickland said could be sometime in late October if the permitting process goes smoothly. That puts construction on the table at the start of the year with completion of the project before the Easter holiday.
Contact AMANDA KELLEY at 626-0381.