Cherry Grove Pier reopens to public first time since damages caused by Hurricane Ian

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — The long-awaited fishing pier, the Cherry Grove pier, reopened to the public Friday after the pier was split in half by Hurrican Ian in 2022.

The damages to the pier were a whopping $13 million. The Cherry Grove Pier sits off North Ocean Blvd between 34th and 37th Avenues.

Just an hour after the pier’s opening, fisherman and more than 30 residents and visitors walked the new pier. A pier manager told News13 that before construction 18 moths ago, the pier was torn in half and was unsafe.

Patricia Belamy, the kitchen manager at Driftwood Pier Restaurant, said they started building the pier back last year.

“First week of February, is when they started, am I correct,” Belamy said. “Yeah, last year, first week of February they started. And you know, you have your ups and downs with any building as anybody would but it’s standing tall, strong, and beautiful and we’re excited it opened back up.”

Bellamy said she has been watching the pier’s rebuilding progress from the deck.

“It’s one thing to watch it,” Bellamy said. “You know say I came with my parents when they were little when they first were ever building the pier years ago. But to come here and watch them repair the pier, was a wonderful thing people got to experience.”

Linda Faye, a North Myrtle Beach resident, said the new pier is beautiful.

“The benches have to be put up yet but it’s still beautiful and you can’t go past where they have the block,” Faye said.

Currently, the pier is completed two-thirds of the way down and is open for bottom fishing only.

While walking on the pier, construction workers informed News13 why a certain area was open.

“Down there at the T, the very end,” the pier construction workers said. “There’s a couple of braces that are missing so they’re adding new ones in there. Adding new ones, replacing and making sure everything’s safe to walk on.”

The construction workers said their job today was to check all nails to make sure none were sticking upwards.

The pier manager, Edgar Stephens, said there’s been great improvements. He said the pier has been elevated eight feet out from where it was damaged.

“We’ve actually increased some width and the length of some of the pile-ons,” Stephens said. “And the cross timbers that tie the pier together to make them unified and structurally stronger.”

Stephen said the bolts are now stainless steel and there is new wood and lighting.

Thomas Furnier with Brents Marine Employee said he hopes the community loves the pier.

“I really do,” Furnier said. “I mean it’s been a long time coming but we’ve been working hard out here, and it’s been rough, and it’s been a job it has.”

Cherry Grove Pier Manager Edgar Stephens said a hard launch of the pier is expected towards the end of May or sometime in June.

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Jackie LiBrizzi is a multimedia journalist at News13. Jackie is originally from Hamilton, New Jersey, and was raised in Piedmont, South Carolina. Jackie joined the News13 team in June 2023 after she graduated as a student-athlete from the University of South Carolina in May 2023. Follow Jackie on X, formerly Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, and read more of her work here.

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