By KEVIN CHIRI
Slidell news bureau
SLIDELL — Yet one more bright spot from Hurricane Katrina was made evident for the Slidell community this past week, when the new Slidell fishing pier opened to the public.
The opening was attended by a host of public officials and media, all wanting to see the beautiful new addition to the North Shore, which is situated just under the new Twin Spans along the shore of the lake.
Former St. Tammany Parish President Kevin Davis pushed forward two years ago with a suggestion from Slidell resident Bob Beck to use a portion of the damaged Twin Spans for a fishing pier.
Obtaining $1 million in funding to date, Davis got approval for the pier, which was constructed off the shoreline, and then runs under the newly-built Twin Spans, before connecting on the other side with approximately 2,500 feet of the old Twin Spans.
New Parish President Pat Brister thanked Davis for supporting the project before he left office last year, and now Brister said she plans to finish additional phases, which will include more lighting all the way out the bridge for night fishing.
The crowd on hand got some great news during the grand opening when it was announced La. Sen. A.G. Crowe had just obtained $75,000 in funds for the pier, that will pay for the rest of the lighting and more security for the bridge.
The next phase of the bridge will include a full-time bait shop and concessions area, along with restrooms. Brister said they hope to put that out for bids by the fourth quarter of 2012.
The pier costs $3 to fish, $1 to sightsee and is free for children under 12. Hours of operation are 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. throughout the summer, then 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the winter. It is best reached by taking the Oak Harbor exit off the interstate, turning on West End Blvd., then going northeast to the area of the old fireworks stand. The pier is further down that road.
A public grand opening will be held on June 2 when a fishing rodeo will also be held.