By the end of this year, fishermen will have a new place to cast their lines off in Bay County. A new pier is in the works for Millville, and residents and officials are hoping it will breathe new life into the area.
Most are excited about the potential. One resident says improvement like this is something he's been waiting decades to see.
"We started way before the CRA started in 2004 because we felt this was a beautiful community and we needed to clean it up," resident James O'Shields said. "I would like to see the park start making progress and get development on it."
O'Shields says for 20 plus years, the community alliance had big dreams of transforming the Millville waterfront park into an ideal spot for families and visitors. Progress has been coming along slowly. In recent months, lights and benches have been added. There are also plans to add bathrooms, a walking trail, and an amphitheater.
In a few months maybe the biggest piece is set to be added - a fishing pier. Tim Whaler, the Millville community redevelopment agency project manager, says the CRA just received bids on the project Tuesday. He estimates the project will cost around $250,000.
Some residents, like O'Shields, have wondered why it's taken so long to see major progress in the park, but Whaler says like everything else nowadays, it's all about a decrease in funding.
"Acquiring the property put some debt burden on to the CRA, that we had to pay them mortgage for the property, on top of doing the improvements," Whaler said. "So that's slowing us down a little bit."
Whaler says the pier should be started this summer and ended by the end of the year. The other projects should be completed by this time next year.