GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A long awaited celebration took place Friday morning in the City of Gulfport. Three years after it was damaged by Hurricane Isaac, the Ken Combs Pier was reopened.
The return of the popular pier marks a milestone for the city.
"I'm happy to say that with the completion of this particular pier, we can now say that every one of the public access piers in Gulfport are on-line and ready and available for the public. So come out and fish. Come out and walk, recreate and enjoy it," said Mayor Billy Hewes after welcoming the crowd on the hot, muggy morning.
"He was a great man, he really was," said Don McCormick, pointing to a photograph of himself and former Gulfport Mayor Ken Combs.
McCormick was friends with Combs and helped launch the petition drive to name the Courthouse Road pier in his honor.
"He was such a great guy. He was a good guy as a mayor. That's where I met him as a friend. He was also a great friend to the military," said McCormick.
Ken Combs, Jr. helped cut the ribbon with the help of his 3-year-old granddaughter, Leyla.
"This has been a long time. We've been waiting almost three years. It's a great day for not only our family, but for the City of Gulfport," said Combs. "It's recreation. I think folks like to come out here whether it's just to walk or actually fish or crab. It's one of the best places, not only in Gulfport, but on the Coast."
Elvis Cintra is happy the pier is back. It's among his favorite fishing spots.
"Here, I like it. I can catch a big old redfish. I can catch a mullet. Everything that's good," said the happy fisherman.
"We have such resources, and we need to make sure that our public has access to them and the water. To be able to just walk, recreate but fish as well. It's just part of who we are," said Hewes.
Repair work on the Ken Combs Pier cost around $850,000.