The final pilings are going in for a new pier at "D'Iberville Marine Education Park." It's located near the I-110 bridge, off Batia Alley. The first phase of the park includes three-covered piers that will resemble nearby Fountain Pier, a 700-foot boardwalk and bulkhead, and lighting.
The project is part of the D'Iberville Port Commission's effort to make this Back Bay area a popular public attraction. Andrew Balius is Chairman of the D'Iberville Port Commission. He says it's a place for people to come down and walk on the piers, fish, throw their cast nets, or just sit down and relax.
Phase II includes a playground that will go in next to the boardwalk, and a two-story Education Pavilion that can be used by students all across the Coast. Andrew Balius says the education pavilion will be the anchor or the highlight of the area. School teachers can bring their whole class into the area, where they can look at the birds, the sea life, and just enjoy the view.
Preserving that view has proved challenging. Those involved in the project wanted to make the new structures compliment mother nature. Project Engineer David Machado says they had to work around wetlands, take into consideration handicapped-access, and really try to conserve the beauty of the piece of property.
But they say it's important to preserve the area for everyone to appreciate and enjoy. Andrew Balius says when people talk about marsh and sea life, this is what it's really all about. The park will really open up the eyes of people who don't have ready access to the water.
The first phase of the project costs about $400,000. State Tidelands money, the city, the county and port commission helped pay for it. The second phase hasn't started yet because the Port Commission is still seeking funding. It is also expected to cost about $400,000.