FOR SALE: Old Navarre Beach Fishing Pier pallets for $10
NAVARRE — The weathered wooden decking on the Navarre Beach Fishing Pier is being replaced with brand new planks, but those with a hankering for nostalgia can still own a piece —or multiple pieces — of the old pier.
Construction began about six weeks ago on the 1,545-foot pier, with crews working to painstakingly replace each of the wooden planks that run the length of the deck. The old wooden plank decking, first laid when the pier was constructed in 2010, is rotting, cracking and deteriorating faster than maintenance crews can keep up.
But despite its weathered condition, people are still flocking to get a piece of the old pier.
The contractor hired to do the job, RJ Gorman Marine Construction, is selling the old wooden planks for $10 per pallet. A pallet consists of five wooden planks, and each pallet is sold "as is" on the spot, splinters and all.
"People are picking them up faster than I can put them down," said Troy Sellars, the supervisor overlooking the project. "I've got people coming all the way from Mississippi and Alabama to buy these pallets."
Sellars keeps a black and white composition notebook on him at all times to keep track of who wants to buy pallets and how many. He has eight people on the wait list so far.
Dustin Bingham, who has lived in Navarre for the past six years and is stationed at Hurlburt Field, is one of the people on the list. He went to the pier on a windy Monday morning to pick up 20 pallets.
Bingham said he plans to refurbish the wood as much as he can and use it to re-build the deck in his house and to build furniture.
"He's selling it for such a reasonable price and it's cool that they're giving the pier back to the community," Bingham said. "Just the nostalgia of it, and owning a piece of Navarre history, is a really cool thing."
The pallets are removed from the pier in single sections, and then replaced with new, weather-resistant wooden planks.
Sellars said most of the people coming to pick up pallets are doing so "for the memories."
"There's still a lot of life left in them," he said. "You can sand them down and get another 10 years out of them."
The Navarre Beach Fishing Pier — the longest pier in the Gulf of Mexico — has been closed or rebuilt several times during its 55-year history, most notably after Hurricane Opal in 1995 and Hurricane Ivan in 2004. After Ivan, it didn't reopen again until 2010.
The decking on the old pier had become a safety hazard for fishermen and those walking the pier. The county embarked on a $1.12 million re-decking project late last year, and construction began in January.
The pier re-decking is scheduled to be completed by May, and the entire project, including re-decking the steps to the pier, the handicap ramp, several sections in between the restrooms and the Windjammer’s restaurant and several walkovers, is expected to be completed by June.
Annie Blanks can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 850-435-8632.