VIDEO: PCB Gets A Main Attraction Back Better Than Ever

by June 12, 2009 • 10 comments

Right about now all Panama City Beach residents should shout, “Finally!” then collectively sigh. By the 4th of July, Panama City Beach will have the long-awaited Dan Russell Pier re-construction completed, its platform opened, designed to be light-years better and safer than its predecessor.

For those who don’t know much about the new city pier, here is a quick recap: The 8 million dollar structure (the cost for both the county and city piers) was funded by Fema after the previous pier was severely damaged in a hurricane. Designed by Baskerville Donovan, the city pier will extend out over the gulf a lengthy 1500 feet, 29 feet longer than the old pier. The pier stands 8 feet higher than its predecessor and wider at 17 feet. A super-structure, the pier is built to withstand hurricanes of all kinds. Six hundred pound bolted blowout panels line the platform that, when met with storm surge and winds, relieve the pressure on the structure by releasing the panels to safely drift onshore to later be reset. The previous structure also had a T shape at its head. Baskerville Donovan designed the new pier with a much larger head shaped in a rectangle. The rectangular area has a dual purpose of form and function as it accommodates more gazers and fishermen while providing additional protection during storm surge. What may be surprising to some, the pier is turtle friendly. Track lighting embedded into the stone frame, runs down the pier from end to end, eliminating the need for canopy lighting.

Along the Front Beach Road, the pier’s best asset won’t be open until the spring. At nearly 300 feet wide, a boardwalk will be added that could make the pier, coupled with Pier Park, Panama City Beach’s new downtown area. This boardwalk, conformed to potential new form-based design regulations will make room for a ticket booth, a 62ft wide restaurant, a tackle and bait store, public bathrooms and a large outdoor area with umbrella seating for those seeking stellar views. This area will, most likely, wear the same beachy-guise as Pier Park seeming to extend the popular mall to the shore.

Parking for the new pier will line along the roadside and additional overflow parking will be across the street just west of Pier Park’s entrance. Costs will be $6.00 for entrance for fishing and $2.00 for individuals. Senior citizens, military and disabled will receive 50% discounts. Year long passes will be sold for $180.00.

The pier reopening will be heralded by a stunning 4th of July fireworks display, the perfect kickoff to welcoming back a pier that’s been sorely missed.

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1 Allan June 13, 2009 at 5:23 pm

Cool video and glad to see it back! The only thing that would be better is if you had posted that the Starliner was coming back! LOL. I think it would go perfect in pier park…..along with the carousel. That would be a main attraction alright! LOL.


2 Jason Koertge June 13, 2009 at 5:37 pm

Interestingly enough, I believe the Starliner was purchased by another amusement park in South Florida, which is having to close down because of the economy.

One of the guys putting together the Miracle Strip Carousel in Pier Park was telling me that a month or so ago.

Any local’s have the scratch to travel down there and snatch it up?


3 Sherry June 13, 2009 at 6:26 pm

thanks for the photos and the article about the new pier. We will keep an eye on your site for the boardwalk as it is built too.


4 Allan June 14, 2009 at 12:32 am

Well sort of. The Starliner was purchased by Cypress Gardens and transported there a few years ago. It was up in the air where it would go, there or Wild Adventures in Valdosta, GA. They were both owned by the same parent company. The parent company then hit some economic problems and sold the parks. The Starliner was open for a season, maybe two at Cypress Gardens in Winterhaven, FL. The park was loosing money so in a effort to cut costs they closed the amusement part of the park and are just doing the water park they have and the gardens. That brings us to today. The Starliner is for sale, last I checked $40,000 I belive. HOWEVER (Any investors out there) They are wanting to turn the part where the amusement park was/still is into a parking lot and they dont want unused equipment sitting on the lot. I would be willing to bet they would let it go for next to nothing if someone would move the thing.

When it was relocated to Cypress Gardens it was at a cost of around a million dollars. Now they did refurbish a lot of it so it may not be that much to move it to PC, or wherever.

Here is a in ride video of the coater when it was relocated to Cypress Gardens:

Here are the rides that have been sold/still for sale from Cypress Gardens if anyone is interested:

Anywhoo…..I guess there is always hope that it wont be just demolished.



5 Troy June 16, 2009 at 8:34 am

Cebo, great job man!