Gulf State Park Pier will close for renovations on May 11
Gulf State Park Pier will soon close to visitors on May 11, as the park begins an exciting $2.4 million renovation project that will modernize one of the Gulf Coast’s top attractions. The pier is expected to re-open in mid-July. The GSP Pier is one of the longest on the Gulf Coast and provides 2,448 feet of fishing space.
The major renovation includes replacing the wooden decking and handrails of the 10-year-old landmark, creating a new observation deck and installing turtle-friendly lighting. A new 50-by-18-foot elevated observation deck will be constructed above the existing pier deck on the south end of the pier, which will give visitors approximately 850 additional square feet of viewing-space.
The new decking, built with sustainably sourced Ipe (pronounced ee-pay) boards, is designed to hold up for decades against exposure to saltwater, wind and rain. The panels can be removed and stored, which is a major safety feature for the inevitable arrival of a hurricane on the Gulf Coast.
The new observation desk will be equipped with an elevator. The project will also include refurbishing the offices, restrooms, concession area and bait shop.
“Visiting the Gulf State Park Pier is almost a rite of passage for people who come to Gulf Shores,” said Chris Blankenship, Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. “Because it is such an important part of our park, we are absolutely dedicated to maintaining the pier and ensuring it is safe and accessible to our many thousands of guests. We also want to make it is as environmentally friendly as possible for sea turtles and other wildlife.”
The $2.4 million project was approved and funded by the Natural Resource Damage Assessment Program, Alabama Trustee Implementation Group. Commissioner Blankenship represents the State of Alabama on this group. The contractor on the project is M.D. Thomas, an Orange Beach-based company.
“While the timing of the renovation isn’t ideal, it’s good to know that this needed renovation work will allow local anglers to continue using the pier for years to come,” said David Thornton, a local angler and expert on fishing at the pier.