City to temporarily suspend lease with Jacksonville Beach Pier management company

by: Lorena Inclan, Action News Jax Updated:

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JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. - Action News Jax has learned the city of Jacksonville wants to suspend its lease with the company that manages the storm-damaged Jacksonville Beach Pier.

Action News Jax showed you in October how a large portion of the pier was swept away during Hurricane Matthew, in a structural failure that the city is investigating.

Like many beachgoers, Shannon Oliver can’t imagine Jacksonville Beach without its iconic pier.

“It’s part of Jacksonville Beach so it's been here forever,” said Oliver. “It's sad and unfortunate that the hurricane did come through and destroyed the pier.”

During Hurricane Matthew, a 350-foot portion of concrete and wood broke off and got swept away. The pier has been closed to the public ever since.

The city’s finance committee has voted to suspend the $5,500-a-month lease it has with the Dania Pier Management Corporation.

“It makes sense that if they can't operate on the pier and the pier is obviously not there for them to operate, we should suspend their lease agreements until they can actually operate,” said Councilman Matt Schellenberg.

The measure has to go before the full council before it’s approved.

Schellenberg, who is the vice-chair of the finance committee, said the repairs could take some time.

“The sooner we can find out where the money is coming from, do an RFP [request for proposal] to get somebody out there to do it and get it accomplished as quickly as possible is what our goal is,” said Schellenberg.

It’s unclear if errors in the design caused the concrete to give way at the very end of the pier. Divers have been hired to inspect it.

“The pier foundations, the pilings were supposed to be there without any damage and that did not happen,” said Schellenberg.

In the meantime, Oliver said people need to be patient.

“It does take time. It's not an overnight miracle,” said Oliver.

The next City Council meeting is on Tuesday.