Hurricane Matthew made landfall in southeastern North Carolina in October 2016, causing catastrophic flooding. Barrier islands, beaches, and inland areas were hit hard as the storm stalled over North Carolina for days.
The Yaupon Pier, also known as the Oak Island Pier, is owned by the Town of Oak Island. The Pier suffered extensive damage as a result of Hurricane Matthew and was condemned.
“The Town depends on tourism, and this historical landmark is critical for our local economy,” said David Kelly, Oak Island Town Manager. “In addition, locals visit the Oak Island Pier daily for walks, fishing, and family time. The Town hosts annual fishing tournaments and events held on the pier and other local businesses depend on the pier for tourism.”
The Town received insurance proceeds and FEMA funding, but it was not sufficient to rebuild the pier. Golden LEAF provided $1,444,414 through the state-funded Disaster Recovery Grant Program to complete the project.
On August 3rd, Hurricane Isaias made landfall in North Carolina near Ocean Isle Beach in Brunswick County as a Category 1 hurricane. Oak Island was in the direct path of the storm and suffered between $40-$45 million in damages, according to Kelly. While a good portion of the island was devastated by the storm, the newly built Oak Island Pier weathered the storm.
“The Oak Island Pier sustained minimal damage from the storm,” said Kelly. “We had a few boards come up on the king portion of the Pier and some of the braces were compromised.”
The 925-foot-long pier was built with a wooden railing on the top and aluminum rails below. Part of the center of the pier has fiberglass-reinforced grating, which can take a pounding from high surf without causing damage to the larger structure.
“Overall, the Oak Island Pier fared very well considering the intensity of the storm and the destruction to the rest of the island,” said Kelly. “The Pier was only closed for one day and once opened back up, hundreds of fisherman and walkers have been on the Pier since.”
The Disaster Recovery Grant Program is funded through appropriations from the State of North Carolina to the Golden LEAF Foundation to make grants to governmental entities and 501(c)(3) nonprofits to repair or replace infrastructure and equipment damaged or destroyed by Hurricanes Matthew, Florence, Michael, and Dorian.