Repairs to the west pier in Vermilion, Ohio are complete, revitalizing protection for beachgoers and boaters, and ensuring the economic viability of the city’s harbor.
Why it matters: Vermilion’s piers shield the entrance to the Vermilion River, Main Street Beach, and nearby homes from damage and erosion caused by Lake Erie.
• Boat trips and spending at the harbor generate an estimated $6.9 million in revenue for local tourism and business, including more than $200,000 from 13 charter fishing boats.
• The harbor supports more than 44 full-time jobs and a combined $15 million in impact to the regional economy.
• Vermilion harbor is a “harbor of refuge,” offering shelter to boats exposed to challenging weather and water conditions.
How it happened: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completed the repair faster than originally planned, to avoid impacting to the city’s summer beach and tourism season.
• About 4,700 tons of new stone – some as large as a home dishwasher – and crushed rock was used to re-build 900 feet of the 1,333-foot pier, from Main Street Beach to the north end.
• The pier was rebuilt to its original height, and a new layer of stone was added to the original design on the lake side, increasing protection for the navigation channel and the beach.
• Check out photos of the project here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/buffalousace/albums/72177720312098484/
What you should know: Storms, waves and ice are what caused the 183-year-old pier to break down before repairs. They also pose a safety risk to the public.
• Structures like the pier are designed for navigation and are not meant to be walked on. Wave action from Lake Erie can be dangerous to people walking on the pier.
• When boating in or around the harbor, monitor the weather, observe speed limits and safety rules on local waterways, and always wear life vest.
• Read more about the project here: https://www.dvidshub.net/news/452366/us-army-corps-engineers-begin-construction-vermilion-harbor-west-pier