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Capitola Wharf closed after surf damage

The City of Capitola has temporarily closed its wharf after high winter surf damaged two supportive piles on New Year’s Day.

Engineers who inspected the damage—which occurred underneath the small boat hoist—installed a steel beam that spans the failed area on Saturday so the hoist wouldn’t fall into the ocean, said Public Works Director Steve Jessberg.

That work cost approximately $25,000. The closure means that the wharf’s two businesses—Capitola Boat and Bait and the Wharf Restaurant—will be out of commission for at least a few days.

“We anticipate opening the wharf to the public later this week,” Jessberg said Tuesday.

The boat shop, which uses the hoist to place small boats into the water below, will not be able to do so until permanent repairs can be made, Jessberg said. 

Capitola officials were already planning on revamping the wharf to shore up the aging structure and protect it from future sea-level rise. The project will cost from $4.4 to $7.5 million and is expected to start within the next two years. 

The repair and renovation projects could be funded through Measure F, the quarter-cent sales tax approved by voters in 2014 and 2016 to fund city services. The fund currently totals about $1.2 million, which is earmarked for wharf improvements, according to the City of Capitola. 

Built in 1857 to ship goods such as lumber, leather and paper, the wharf has had its share of storm damage throughout the years. It was renovated in 2000. 

Next, workers will replace the broken piles and other structural supports, which could include removal and installation of the heavy hoist.

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