SARASOTA (WWSB) - The renovation is underway for a popular destination in Venice. Crews are beginning the work to rebuild the Venice Municipal Fishing Pier which was damaged during Hurricane Irma in 2017.
For the last 50 years, the pier has been a prime spot for locals and tourists alike, but it’s time for an upgrade. Over the next 90 days, crews will be refurbishing it.
"It’s something that needs to get done, so we totally understand it. We support it, and we think the timeline they chose is perfect,” Justin Pachota, the owner of Sharkey’s on the Pier, told us.
The remodeling will be completed in phases. The first part of construction will demolish the back end of the pier so people can still have access and use the part of the pier closest to the shore. Then eventually, crews will work their way down the entire pier.
"If they don’t need to close it all at once, and still allow a space for locals to g out and enjoy and fish… that’s the best approach,” explained Pachota.
The construction is going to remove and replace the deck and the railings with wood that will last longer. And they’re also going to add in new, sea turtle friendly lights under the handrails. This pier is a staple for the city, and a hot spot for its fishermen who grew up casting off from its dock.
"We used to hang out a lot at that pier. We’d shark fish at night, and fish for bait during the day,” Captain Jamie Bostwick, from Aristakat Charters, remembered.
While different parts of the pier are being redone, Venice City Council may be using this slowdown in fishing as a way to discuss the future of shark fishing here - once again. New state fishing laws will go into effect on July 1 - which include needing a permit for shore-based shark fishing.
"I don’t think it’s harmed anything, and it’s been this way for a very long time. I hope they do allow people to shark fish still, as long as they manage it. Make sure they clean up after themselves and release them properly and everything like that,” Captain Jaime told us.
Construction on the pier is expected to be completed over the next three months, and Venice City Council will be discussing what to do about shark fishing once it’s finished at tomorrow’s city council meeting.