Oak Island Pier reopens 2 years after being damaged by hurricane

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The community celebrated the ribbon cutting for the Oak Island Pier Wednesday morning. (Photo: Kylie Jones/WWAY)

OAK ISLAND, NC (WWAY) — If you’re headed to the beach this weekend, you might want to check out the brand new Oak Island Pier.

The community celebrated the ribbon cutting of the new pier Wednesday morning.

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After two summers without the pier, hundreds of people came out to see it. Officials say the turnout really shows how strong the community is.

“We had patience,” Oak Island resident Cindy Edwards said. “We just prayed to give us patience and it did.”

The pier partially collapsed in Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

“It was unbelievable before,” old Oak Island resident Michael Magoon said. “You know, tripping over nails and things were sticking up. Now, it’s just unbelievable.”

Magoon was one of more than 100 people who came out to break in the new pier.

The old pier might not have been strong enough to weather a hurricane, but the Mayor Cin Brochure says the community certainly is.

“I thought we may have 12 here at the most,” Brochure said. “This just tells you how much anticipation, these are all local community people, how thrilled they are to see this pier back. This is their symbol.”

An inspection on March 7, 2017 led to the pier needing to close, then less than a week later it closed to the public.

Brochure says the recovery was not always easy.

“Blood sweat and tears,” Brochure said. “I live right there and I stood and watched the end go down during the hurricane from the top of my house.”

Brochure says it’s back and better than ever.

The new pier has metal grating to withstand strong waves and wind, handicapped accessibility, not to mention Brochure says it’s also the tallest pier in North Carolina.

Town Manager David Kelly says the pier just has a few finishing touches to go.

“But the pier itself will be completed by the end of June,” Kelly said. “There are still things going on right now. We still have to put the lights and the rest of the benches.”

There is one thing that most people can agree on.

“This is a nice pier,” Edwards said. “It beats anything I’ve been on, so this is great.”

“It’s the best,” Magoon said. “North Carolina’s got it made.”

The rebuild was made possible with help from The Golden Leaf Foundation, FEMA, The NC Department of Environmental Quality and Oak Island town funding.

In addition to the new pier, a new restaurant, coffee shop, and bait and tackle shop will open soon. Brochure says the town will turn the 801 building next door into an event space.

The pier will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. until it is completely done. Fishing will start July 2.