Nags Head Fishing Pier Grand Opening
Rarely will you find me commenting on an event in another town in this column. However, this month I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you about the opening of Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head. Especially since the next Aquarium Pier will be built in Emerald Isle.
My wife Diane and Frank Rush and his wife Suzanne attended the Grand Opening of Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head on May 21, 2011. All of us were impressed by the pier, and by the fact that it is much more than a fishing pier. Ocean fishing piers have a long history in North Carolina and it is good to see a new pier that will be here for many years because of its solid construction.
I addition to fishing, it has a lot of educational and environmental aspects. Since it is a project of the North Carolina Aquarium, it has many aquarium exhibits, featuring local species of fish. It also has an educational classroom for the many programs planned for the youngsters. There also is a large cistern to collect rainfall off of the roof for use at the site, and three windmills mounted on the pier to generate electricity. Earlier windmills at other locations seemed to generate a low pitch noise that was annoying to some, but I didn’t hear any noise at all from these windmills. On the deck of the pier, the windmills are hardly noticeable; and from the balcony of the large meeting room, they were clearly visible, but did not distract from the view at all.
There are also plans to allow educational facilities to mount monitoring devices below the pier to provide research data for educational purposes, things like water temperature, wave height, salinity, and I am sure a host of other things. The upstairs meeting room is large and 43 weddings have already been booked. It was certainly a great location for all kinds of meetings and special events.
The grand opening was well attended and the first fish was caught in probably less than 10 minutes by someone that had fished the old Jennette’s Pier for many years. The grand opening provided a great strength test to see how much weight the pier could hold. I doubt if there will ever be that many people on the pier again.
So Ok, “Where do we stand on the pier in Emerald Isle?”. The plans should be complete in “late summer/early fall” of this year with documents ready to go out for bid. The project cost is estimated to be $15+ million and before going out for bid, we need a source of funds. Obviously, with governments at all levels having financial issues at this time, it will be some time before the Aquarium is able to secure the funds, and your guess as to when that will be is as good as mine. I surely hope sooner rather than later. Jennette’s Pier will be enjoyed by many for many years to come.