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Recent storms cause setbacks to Capitola Wharf repairs

CAPITOLA, Calif. (KION) - UPDATE ON FEB. 12, 2024 AT 11:24 AM- After the recent winter storms damaged parts of Santa Cruz County, the City of Capitola says that they have seen a slight setback in delays.

City officials said that they have installed new columns which are made of a fiberglass material. Crews have fixed parts of the mid-span at the wharf and they are on their way to the end of the wharf.

However, the Wharf House Restaurant is a total loss and the city will be demolishing the restaurant.

"That was a happy place and That's been wiped out," Marsha Cavanagh who lives in Capitola. said. "And now I think they got it down in the village and that was pretty."

City officials said they currently do not have the money to demolish the establishment and are looking for $500,000 from the state, otherwise, the City will have to pay for it.

"There's still storm events we anticipate having prior to finishing the projects," City of Capitola Public Works Director Jessica Kahn said. "We're using all the measures we can to adapt and do the work we can and have it be the most solid construction site we can have so we don't have further damages."

Kahn said construction on the wharf is expected to be done by Fall 2024 and there are still some repairs where the cost is unpredictable at the end of the wharf.

"In hopeful the $500,000 comes through the state and we don't get to the point where we actually have spent that contingency prior to that," said Kahn. "But if it turns out that that state money is not going to materialize, we would have to return to council for additional funding."

The Capitola Wharf Resiliency Project, a project made up of volunteers, has already raised $350,000.

"The community is a great community because everybody's pitched in and we've raised more money than we thought we were going to raise to to fix the wharf, to enhance it," said Barbara Montagnoli who lives in Capitola.

Some repairs the city has already completed are the new fiberglass columns and mid-span repairs.

But it's still unknown how much repairs at the end of the wharf will cost.

"Now we just hope that it can, you know, occur as quickly as possible because everybody enjoys it."
said Montagnoli. "And the tourists love coming here and so, the sooner it can get done, you know, the happier we are."

There are still some storm events the city is anticipating before finishing the projects. The city says they're using all the measures to adapt to continue working and have a solid construction site to prevent further damage. The city says they are actively looking for quotes to get the cost of the demolition lowered.

Capitola looks forward to groundbreaking ceremony for the Wharf Resiliency Project

More than half a year later, and efforts to rebuild the historic Capitola Wharf remains strong.

"Luckily we had had this project in the queue for a really long time, so we were able to start it this year," said Jessica Kahn, Capitola's Public Works Director.

Friday marks a very memorable day, the groundbreaking for the resiliency project will start.

This project will repair storm damage from earlier this year.

"It reminded me of home because again, in San Diego, in ocean beach, our pier had been destroyed two or three years ago," said Mike Giordano who is visiting from San Diego.

Once completed hopefully by the summer of next year, the wharf will not look the same as it did before the storm.

"The main change that the public is going to see is it's going to be widened. so there's a very short writing part right now, but it will be that wide all the way through. So it will make it more stable. So hopefully that we don't have the same damage occur in the future with future storms," said Kahn.

The Enhancement project will be working parallel with the resiliency project.

This project will improve and beautify the wharf with a new entryway, lighting fixtures, more seating, and something fun for the kids!

"We're looking at an artistic feature like a scavenger hunt for kids in the deck. we also have binocular viewing stations that we're going to have for those locations," said Gerry Jensen, the chair of the Capitola Wharf Enhancement Project.

The enhancement project was approved by the city as a resolution a few weeks back. It also community members to raise dollars for improvement.

The community outreach has just been amazing and it's been great to work directly with the city and the city council and making sure that, you know, this work opens on time sometime late next year," said Jensen.

Gerry tells KION the Enhancement Project when completed will cost around $300,000.

If you would like to donate to the project visit

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Dania Romero

Dania Romero is an reporter at KION News Channel 46.


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