CLEARWATER — The fishing pier on Lake Bellevue soon will be but a memory.
City Manager Bill Horne told the city council during its work session last week that the pier, adjacent to the Ross Norton recreation complex at 1426 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., isn’t used often and will be demolished.
Earlier this month, Councilman Bill Jonson said that residents of a nearby subdivision had raised concerns that someone could be injured attempting to jump over a two-foot gap between the lake bank and the pier. The council directed staff to cordon off the pier until further notice.
City staff attributed the gap to a recent stormwater project, which expanded the lake to contain more water runoff, and to the installation of a new nature trail, which elevated the embankment at the water’s edge.
Jonson voiced disappointment that the stormwater and trail projects failed to correct the problem with the pier’s approach.
Kevin Dunbar, parks and recreation director, previously recommended that the pier be removed because it’s rarely used and doesn’t meet accessibility standards under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Dunbar also put forth two alternatives to fix the gap: connecting the pier to the trail with a hard path or ramp; or rebuilding the pier to align it with the trail elevation. However, both options would require meeting ADA mandates, which could cost up to $55,000.
Councilman Hoyt Hamilton previously suggested saving the pier by raising its pilings so it could be connected to the embankment. That idea turned out to be as expensive as the other two repair alternatives.
The city manager noted there’s been no public outcry to preserve the structure.
“Usually, when people really want something, they’ll let us know,” he said. “The pier doesn’t seem to have a strong constituency.”
While he recommended that the pier be demolished, Horne added, “That doesn’t mean at some point there won’t be a pier there in the future. But it should be driven by a clear, articulated need that people really want to use it rather than the approach (of) build it and they will come.”
Councilwoman Doreen Hock-DiPolito said the pier looked much worse in reality than in photos. She agreed with the staff report that it should be removed. She also noted that while people do fish at the lake, they don’t do so from the pier.
Jonson said he “struggles with the fact that council didn’t have information” at the time the trail was put in to indicate how the project adversely would affect the pier.
“On the other hand,” he said, “removing it versus fixing it seems like the most judicious method at this point in time despite my disappointment.”