Saturday, May 21, 2011

Jennette's Pier. The Grand Opening.

Today I had the pleasure of going to the Grand Opening of Jennette's Pier.
Before I get to a bit of the history of the pier, here are some teaser photographs for you.
Four members of the U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team gave us a show.
On May 22, 2009, I attended the ground-breaking ceremony for the new Jennette's Pier. Today, two years later, I attended the Grand Opening of the North Carolina Aquariums' Jennette's Pier in Nags Head. The original Jennette's Pier, built in 1939 at a cost of $6000 by Walter Jennette, was a local historical landmark. The 754-foot pier had been damaged by Nor-easters and hurricanes and rebuilt numerous times over the decades. In September of 2003, Hurricane Isabel took out 540 feet of the pier. The pier house survived, but was demolished in 2008. In 2009, North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue signed a bill to rebuild Jennette's Pier. For a little history and political flip-flopping, please read my post about the ground-breaking ceremony, which I referred to as the wind-breaking ceremony, due to all the politicos kissing babies, shaking hands, petting dogs, and then their back-flipping on certain central issues. As I quoted Governor Perdue and Senator Basnight in the above link, they were all set to OK the bill to create the "North Carolina Aquarium Pier," not Jennette's Pier. Here's what I wrote two years ago: In 2009, North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue signed a bill unanimously approved by the state legislature to rebuild Jennette's Pier. The bill was first introduced to build the "North Carolina Aquarium Pier," a moniker which really just rolls right off one's tongue and pretty much raised the hackles of native Outer Bankers. Even Governor Purdue said this morning that she got out her veto stamp when faced with the name "North Carolina Aquarium Pier." Outer Banks officials balked at the idea of changing the name and over 1000 people from around the country pressured state officials to keep the historic name "Jennette's Pier" and maintain the heritage of this venerable landmark. Note here that politicians can and do get wishy washy on what they say and do. They (meaning Perdue and Basnight) apparently were totally OK at first with naming Jennette's Pier the melodious and mellifluous, "North Carolina Aquarium Pier at Nags Head." Then the cranky, bitchy native Outer Bankers made them keep the heritage, legacy, and history that they thrive on.
The North Carolina Aquarium Pier is an important marker for North Carolina’s coastline and for the North Carolina Aquarium,” said Perdue. “But more importantly, it will serve generations to come as a place of learning, recreation and further appreciation of the natural resources that bring so many people from across the state and beyond to our beautiful coast.”
“Jennette’s Pier has been a landmark on the Outer Banks for generations and this legislation will help expedite construction and jump-star the economy,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Marc Basnight, D- Dare. “When it opens, the North Carolina Aquarium Pier at Nags Head will be an environmentally-friendly attraction that will help boost our tourist economy.”
And of course, the politicos turned belly-up and even Purdue said something like this:

Gov. Bev Perdue said Friday she was taken aback when a bill arrived on her desk authorizing construction of the North Carolina Aquarium Pier in Nags Head.

"I got my veto stamp out," joked Perdue, "and said, 'Who stole the money from Jennette's Pier?' "

In her first official visit to the Outer Banks since she was elected, Perdue displayed her northeastern North Carolina roots when she complained about the "audacity" in thinking about calling the replacement for the Outer Banks' oldest pier anything other than Jennette's.

More than 1,000 petitioners on the social networking Web site Facebook had similar sentiments, and the name has been officially restored as part of North Carolina Aquariums.

Back to today's post: Construction on the original Jennette's Pier started on May 22, 1939. The ground-breaking ceremony for the new Jennette's Pier happened on May 22, 2009. And the grand opening is May 21, 2011. Why they didn't wait one more day for the grand opening? This state-of-the-art $25 million project includes a 16,000-square-foot pier house, and a 1000-foot concrete pier. According to pier manager, Mike Remige, the pier "was designed from the ground up to be sustainable, extremely energy efficient, and to provide clean sources of energy... It demonstrates sustainable design on the coast." The pier is designed to withstand a Category 3 hurricane. Division Director of the North Carolina Aquariums, David Griffin, offered, "The North Carolina Aquariums have always been educational facilities, attempting to inspire individuals about North Carolina's aquatic environments. ... In Jennette's Pier, we saw an opportunity to educate the public about innovative and leading construction techniques." According to Manager Remige and Assistant Manager Daryl Law, "The whole thing is a teaching tool." The pier was designed and built with green in mind. Three energy-producing wind turbines spin in the wind. The turbines are not expected to produce all the energy for the pier's needs, but if they ever do, Dominion NC Power is required to buy it. The three turbines, on 90-foot towers, are expected to generate enough power to supply about half the power the facility would require during peak demand. Solar cells will be used to convert the energy from the sun to electricity, which will be used to power pier lighting at night. Geothermal wells will be used to air condition the pier house and provide refrigeration. Eighty 200-foot deep wells insure that water passes through and achieves a constant temperature. A specifically designed storm-water retention system allows for the potential to hold 10,000 gallons of storm water. All waste-water from the toilets, sinks, and bathhouse will be pumped to a waste-water facility across the street, behind Sam & Omie's Restaurant. There, it will be treated, then returned to the pier, hopefully saving 60% on city water. Wilmington lead architect, George C. Hemingway's, design concept for Jennette's Pier dovetailed with the mission of the North Carolina Aquarium: " ... to promote an awareness, understanding, appreciation, and conservation of the diverse natural and cultural resources associated with North Carolina's ocean, estuaries, rivers, streams, and other aquatic environments. As with all North Carolina Aquariums, educational elements are paramount. The wind turbines are explained by panels along the pier. Pier house video monitors show how much energy is being creating and how much is being used. In the restrooms, you can read about waste-water treatment. In the parking lot, you can read about the geothermal wells. The lower level of the 16,000-square-foot pier house will house a 7500-gallon tank and a 5300-gallon tank with touch-screen monitors. The first floor houses a convenience store, tackle shop, gift shop, and a classroom. Upstairs, the pier house has a full commercial kitchen and a 3500-square-foot ocean-view multi-purpose hall with 22-foot-high ceilings and a covered porch/outside deck overlooking the ocean, complete with white rockers and suspended globe lights. A five-hour wedding reception on the second floor will be $3300. Fishing and walking on the pier will be free Saturday. After that, it will be $12 for adults and $6 for children. A $2 donation will be encouraged for walkers. The Golden Knights were scheduled to dive at 10:45. Glowria and Lulu picked me up around 9:00. We wanted to be sure we had a place to park and a good vantage point. We actually got a parking space at the pier parking lot. We considered that quite a coup. And here's the pier. $25 million or $30 million. Depends on who you talk to. This state-of-the-art facility was made possible through funding by the state as well as the North Carolina Aquarium Society. Our little group walked around to the south side of the pier. I found out that this is where the paratroopers would be landing. Another beautiful day on the Outer Banks. The water was extremely blue today. I might even call it ... Carolina Blue. Officials were clearing this area for the landings. Check out the surfer in the background. Paddle surfer caught a wave. This little cutie was having a problem with his sandals. Coast Guard out in the ocean. One thing that was troubling me was this lone umbrella and beach crap left in the sand smack dab in the middle of the landing area. Lots of black smoke when the Coast Guard backed up.
When one of the lifeguards walked by me, I asked her about the beach umbrella which was causing me considerable distress. I imagine it would be more distress if someone landed on it. She immediately went and got the umbrella. Here's our motley crew: From left to right, Lulu, Glowria, Xmaskatie, and Veronica. Land-bound Golden Knights.
This is the landing area he's setting down. You'd think he'd have an X-Marks-The-Spot-Bright-Red marker, but noooooooo. It's sand-colored.
Wind sock up. De plane! De plane! It's a sea gull and a plane.
Streamers were dropped south of us to test the wind.
A crowd is gathering underneath the pier.
I still don't understand how the paratroopers are going to see this landing marker. Oh wait! It must be reflective, right? Governor Beverley Perdue has arrived. And they're off! Check out the fourth paratrooper here. I love the open-arm approach. And the fourth one here. Open arms. Click and double click to enlarge this photo. I got the first paratrooper deploying his chute. Pure ballet.
I think the last eight photographs I uploaded horizontally were supposed to be posted vertically. I give you the vertical pics. Please click and enlarge.
The first one to land is carrying the American flag. God bless America. It's hard to video and shoot stills at the same time.
This is so cool.
Makes you proud to be an American.
Right on target.
North Carolina flag coming in.
All four had perfect landings.
I apologize for the crappiness of my videos, but I can't see squat on my screen. The sun's too bright.
Check it out. Last one was a chick! National Anthem. Champagne! Someone must have known Rosie was coming. Notice the filament attached to the bottle to swing it into the concrete post.
Boy Scouts took part in the ceremony.
I love the jaunty caps the Knights wear. One of the "suits," on the lookout. After the Golden Knights landing, the program began. In the above picture, the local male politicians are standing up to welcome Governor Beverly Perdue, the last speaker. That's the Governor's blond head sticking out just over the railing on the left. Now, Rosie had to make a decision at the beginning when we arrived at the pier. Do we sit in the front of the pier so we can listen to the politicians drone on during the ceremony or do we sit on the dunes 25 feet away from where the U.S. Army Golden Knights were landing? Hmmmmm... What to do... What to do? We ended up in the dunes. Surprise! And we were behind the politicians. And they had no speakers aimed out to the beach where a bunch of us were. So, sadly, we were unable to hear anything any politician had to say. Awwwwwwwww. That's Governor Perdue. Here's the bored crowd milling around waiting for them to open the pier and trying to get through the speeches. The christening of the pier. First try with the champagne bottle did not work. I noticed the fellow on the right had a hammer in hand. Second try did. This is one of our local politicos, Dare County Commissioner, Warren Judge. All of these people are slowly moving into the pier. To many people for me. We opted out of visiting today. I'll go back later without the crowds. By the way, green shirt/white pants in the back left is Glowria, running, so I can take her picture. And there she is! Glowria loves being on the World Wide Web.
Information gleaned from: Kitchens Are Monkey Business: Rosie Attends The Sand-Breaking Ceremony For Jennette's Pier Episode, Molly Harrison's article about Jennette's Pier in My Outer Banks Home (No link found.), and the Outer Banks Voice.


Anonymous said...

Great post, I feel like I was right there with you!

Marilyn said...

Thanks for saving the jumpers from the abandoned umbrella. We can always count on you.