ANNA MARIA ISLAND (FOX 13) - After weathering more than a century of storms, the Anna Maria Island City Pier is now in its final days. Ten months after Hurricane Irma swept through and battered the historic landmark all that now remains are weathered boards and pilings.
Demolition of the pier began in June and is expected to wrap up this month.
The pier survived numerous hurricanes and tropical storms in its 106 years, but Irma managed to deliver the final blow after sheering off part of the building’s roof and sending bits of it into the Gulf of Mexico.
“The damage here on top is enough, in and of itself, to condemn the pier and closed it," Anna Maria Island Mayor Dan Murphy explained to FOX 13 in February. "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.”
Engineers determined that the pier took such a beating that what was left was beyond trying to save. The city approved a $4.5 million plan to completely replace the pier.
Personalized commemorative planks -- installed to celebrate the pier’s centennial anniversary -- have since been removed and set aside. The pre-claimed planks can be picked up at city hall until July 31. Unclaimed planks will be used to build memorial fences at City Pier Park.
The new city pier is slated to open in December 2019 with a completely new pier, pilings, restaurant and bait shop.
“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. “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.”