POMPANO BEACH FISHING PIER NOW OPEN FOR FISHING; PARKING GARAGE OFFERS DISCOUNTED RATE
by Jeff Levine, Pompano Beach Editor-at-Large and Marie Puleo, Pompano Beach Reporter
POMPANO BEACH FISHING: The Fisher Family Pier, which opened for sightseeing only on May 18th, is now also allowing fishing to take place. While there is currently no charge for pedestrians, there is a six dollar fee for fishing.
Anglers are also eligible for discounted parking at the Pier Parking Garage. Parking passes can be validated by the pier attendant, which will allow for all day parking at the garage for a flat five dollar rate.
Free admission for sightseers will end on July 19th. Starting July 20th, a two dollar per person per day fee will be charged for pedestrians. Annual $20 family sightseeing passes will also go on sale after July 19th.
The City is also working on creating an annual fishing pass. According to Pompano Beach spokesperson Sandra King, they “don’t know when it will be introduced, or how much it will cost. We anticipate developing a recommendation to the City Manager in a few months after we’ve had a chance to analyze attendance and costs.”
The pier is open every day from 7am to 10 pm. Currently, only 200 people are allowed on the pier at one time, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Visitors to the pier are required to wear facial coverings and practice social distancing.
Amenities on the new $11.5 million pier include shade structures, benches, splinter-free railings, marine-related artwork, Wi-Fi, and an underwater camera for watching fish.
Construction of the new pier was completed in 2019. However, the opening was delayed due to construction projects in the Pompano Beach Fishing Village, which is adjacent to the pier.
City staff had originally proposed an annual sightseeing pass for residents at $100 per person, but the City Commissioners found the cost to be too high. Several residents who spoke during the public input period also objected to the “steep” Pompano Beach pier fees; others thought there should be no cost at all for residents.
“We pay our taxes, the G.O. Bond, and now you’re going to charge to go on the pier,” said one resident. “I think that’s very unfair.”
Mayor Rex Hardin suggested charging $20 for the annual family pass for residents, instead of $100. “I want to make it simple and easy for our residents,” said Hardin.
“This is like their park,” he said. “I don’t care if they’re the people that live on the beach or out in Palm Aire, this is for all residents.”
Hardin said “the biggest issue in my mind is the issue of vagrancy,” and the annual pass is a way to control access to the pier.
“We’ve got issues with vagrancy throughout the city, and I don’t want those issues to start cropping up on our pier, in our beach area, that’s’ my concern,” he said. “So, that’s why we’ve got to do something. It can’t just be free to walk out on the pier.”
If vagrancy issues start to arise, Hardin said he would be in favor of raising the cost of the $20 annual pass.