A lot can happen in 30 years, which is the estimated lifespan of the new Jennette’s Pier. For those of you who have been waiting with bated breath, the grand opening of the $25 million taxpayer-funded 1,000 foot pier is Saturday, May 21. Rest assured it will not be a sleeper. The state is pulling out all stops for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“Be sure to arrive early, however, as the event features a unique jump start with the U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team who will soar to a landing on the beach beginning at 10:45 a.m. Following an hour-long dedication ceremony, the new state-owned and operated facility will open its doors for free fishing for everyone for the rest of the day and night.”
The project was funded in 2009 at a time when the state was facing a multi-million dollar budget gap. It received unanimous approval by the General Assembly for the release of the funds. Reconstruction of the pier was orchestrated by former Senate President Pro Tem Marc Basnight. Two years later, the project is opening on time.
Those closest to the project and in support of the project speak with a certain familiarity to those who once endorsed a ship perceived as unsinkable. Pier Manager Mike Remige told the Raleigh News & Observer, after a recent storm in Nags Head and walking the pier’s length, he “needed to know what it would feel like with 20-foot seas.”
“I realized then, this pier wasn’t going to move,” Remige said.
While comparing the Titanic to Jennette’s Pier might not be apples to oranges, there is still somewhat of an irony that on the same day the Raleigh News & Observer published its fanfare story on Jennette’s Pier, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its above-average 2011 hurricane season prediction for the Atlantic Ocean. Coincidence?