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After 6 Years, Hermosa Beach Peers With Anticipation Toward Pier

November 11, 2005|Eric Malnic | Times Staff Writer

Ceremonies will be held Nov. 19 to mark the end of a three-phase renovation of the Hermosa Beach Pier, a six-year project that some local businessmen are glad to see nearing completion.

The third phase, which cost almost $5.7 million, included the construction of a lifeguard tower, a restroom complex and a broad concrete entrance court decorated with a multicolored compass rose.

"Hermosa Beach is about its beach, and the pier is its centerpiece," said Rick Morgan, the city's director of public works. "This is a large improvement visually. It's money well-spent."

Hermosa Beach resident David Schumacher donated $1 million in memory of his twin brother, Paul William Schumacher, who died in 1971. The entrance court will be named Schumacher Plaza.

Morgan said the county contributed $1.9 million, with $324,000 from the California Wildlife Conservation Board, $200,000 from the California Coastal Conservancy, $221,000 from the county's Regional Park and Open Space District and the balance from the city of Hermosa Beach.

The first phase of the project involved strengthening structural elements of the pier and the second added decking, railings and lighting.

A major addition in the third phase is improved access from the beach to the pier.

"The new lifeguard tower is in the same footprint as the one it replaced," Morgan said. "And the new restrooms are really nice. The old ones were terrible."

Brian Beckman, manager of Hennessey's Tavern, a popular watering hole next to the new entrance court, said business was hindered by the construction.

"It's a lot nicer than it was, and I'm glad they did it," Beckman said. "But I wish they'd done it a little quicker."

Mark Mooradian, a bartender at the Dragon Restaurant and Club, a few doors down, said the construction work hasn't affected his business much, "and when it's done, I think it will help business...."

"It took a long time," he said. "But so do a lot of worthwhile things."

Visitor Tim Ramirez, a resident of Manhattan Beach, said that although he comes to Hermosa Beach often, he hadn't really noticed the pier refurbishment.

"I guess it's improved," he said. "But for more than $5 million, it should be."

Jim Cha, a local resident who has been hanging out by the pier since the 1940s, said he preferred things the way they were then.

"Anything that changes Hermosa from the way it was in 1947 is a travesty," Cha said. "I think the objective has been to cover as much sand as possible with concrete."

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