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FEMA expected to make a decision on funding of Surfside pier

"Structurally unsafe" portion of Surfside Beach being removed

A portion of the pier in Surfside Beach, deemed “structurally unsafe” months after it was ripped apart by Hurricane Matthew, will be coming down this week, while the gate blocking walkers will move closer to the end, mayor Bob Childs said.
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A portion of the pier in Surfside Beach, deemed “structurally unsafe” months after it was ripped apart by Hurricane Matthew, will be coming down this week, while the gate blocking walkers will move closer to the end, mayor Bob Childs said.

Federal Emergency Management Agency officials are expected to make a decision this week on how much funding they will provide for the Surfside pier that was destroyed during Hurricane Matthew.

On Nov. 16, Town Administrator Micki Fellner, FEMA and South Carolina Emergency Management Division officials held a phone conference to discuss the funding after the pier was damaged by Hurricane Matthew.

“It went well,” Fellner said. “The ‘next steps’ portion of the conversation revolved around FEMA Region IV staff agreeing to review the materials we have presented over the past few months and trying to provide a path forward.”

Now, the fate of the $9.2 million funding request will be decided by Friday, Fellner said. Officials plan on calling a special meeting in December to discuss the decision and what will need done moving forward.

“I can assure you every single thing that could be done has been done up to date and this next phone call from FEMA will absolutely tell us exactly what direction we’re going in,” Surfside Beach Mayor Bob Childs said.

Town officials decided to rebuild the pier with a concrete foundation, which project consultants predict will last 50 years. In August, FEMA said they would cover 75 percent of the funding. The state of South Carolina agreed to cover 25 percent of the funding.

However, the funding will not cover the building on the current pier including an ice cream shop, bait shop and restaurant, leaving the town with three options, according to Troy Roehm of LS3P Architects.

The three options include:

  • Replacing the two buildings with the same space as the current structures, as about 5,028 total square feet to be leased to tenants;
  • Adding a third building on the north side, in front of the bait shop, creating a total of 9,726 square feet;
  • Or, adding a second level on top of three buildings, creating a total of 18,080 square feet.

In all of the options the pier’s foundation would be raised 10 feet to avoid flooding and storm surge, and an elevator would be added for improved disability access.

Megan Tomasic: 843-626-0343, @MeganTomasic

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