Anna Maria City Pier repairs may start this fall

- The view from Anna Maria Island City Pier is a picture-perfect snapshot.

The pier draws thousands each year, including Angela Stepien and her husband, Paul. 

"It's just gorgeous. It takes you right back," said Angela Stepien. 

"It takes us back to many years ago when people first arrived on the island they came to this pier," added Paul. 

After Hurricane Irma passed over in September, another image of the 106-year-old pier was revealed. 

"The damage here on top is enough, in and of itself, to condemn the pier and closed it," said Mayor Dan Murphy. 

Wood planks were peeled back and part of the bait shop roof was ripped away. 

The city called in a team of engineers to come in and take a look under the pier and examine the pier's pilings. What they found was even more alarming. 

"There are pilings that were completely torn out and eroded and exposed. There is a lot of structural damage underneath that can't be seen," said Mayor Murphy.

Red signs went up saying the pier was closed. Mayor Dan Murphy has secured $4 million in funding for a complete rebuild of the restaurant, the bait shop, and the pier with concrete pilings.

The total costs would be $4.5 million. 

"Our intent in both the design and the architectural is to restore the store to exactly how it looks today. It's an iconic look," said Mayor Murphy. 

The city remains in a permitting phase. Officials hope to start construction by the fall. 

The new pier could be reopened by the end of 2019 and, once it's open, it will stand once more as an iconic image. 

"This pier is over 100 years old and we'd like to rebuild it to last another 100 years so we are leaving something behind," said Mayor Murphy. 

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