Mandalay Pier is coming down.
City leaders unanimously approved the $90,000 project to demolish the pier this summer at their meeting Thursday night.
At one time the pier reached the water but now has become an iconic sunset spot about 150 feet from the tide.
The structure, between and the , must come down for cost reasons and because an expected $200,000, four-foot tall sand wall project is on the horizon.
While there was some concern that the pier is used by wheelchair bound beachgoers, officials said the old incline does not meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards. It is open because it is grandfathered from current code. They also said is wheelchair accessible.
If the pier were restored it would have to meet the newer standards. To repair the old concrete structure, the weak pieces would have to be removed, as would the rust from the rebar. Then new concrete forms would have to be poured and sealed around the weak spots. Costs to repair it far outweigh the $90,000 to bring it down, officials said.
"I hate that this is coming down. I do not use a wheel chair, but this pier is friendly to me and my camera, since I cannot walk long distances," said in an email. "Pier 60 is impossible for me because there is too much walking."
The pier was built about 50 years ago, and over time the concrete has worn down and sand has covered up other areas of it. At one time it extended over the water, a line that has moved because of years of nourishment and erosion.
About 20 years ago, a portion of the pier was removed for safety because part of it was degrading faster than the rest of the structure. The remaining portion was left for beach goers. Although it is not in the water, the concrete is spalding and the rebar is rusty to a point that it must be destroyed.
Readers are split nearly down the middle about whether to restore or destroy the aged pier, .
"I remember when 'Clapton is God' was written on the side," wrote in a comment about the pier. "I truly believe the City of Clearwater wants nothing from the past to remain on their beach."
But not all readers wanted the pier to stay.
"Tear it down," wrote . "It is a magnet for lawsuits."