, Salem, MA

May 13, 2013

Salem Willows pier closed due to winter storm damage

By Bethany Bray

---- — SALEM — The Salem Willows pier remains closed to the public because of damage from winter storms. The pier, a popular fishing spot and Willows attraction, has been barricaded with yellow caution tape this spring.

The city has filed an insurance claim and is collecting bids this month for repairs, Mayor Kim Driscoll said.

Bids are due by the end of May. Tom St. Pierre, the city’s building inspector, said Friday that he hopes repair work will start in early June.

Driscoll said city workers plan to better secure the pier, as people have been climbing over the yellow tape to access the damaged structure.

“There’s definitely concern (from residents about the pier), and we are, too — we want to get it fixed as soon as possible,” Driscoll said.

Repairs are estimated to cost $50,000. Driscoll said she is hoping the insurance claim will come through as repair work starts, but the city will have it fixed either way.

Additional repairs are needed on a float beyond the pier, she said.

This is not the first time the pier has been damaged by storms and rough seas. It’s damaged by weather every third or fourth winter, St. Pierre said.

“The setting of that pier is not very protected, it doesn’t take much of a storm to damage it,” Driscoll said.

The waterfront Salem Willows park, off Fort Avenue, is city-owned property. The 35-acre site, which opened to the public in 1880, is named for the original white willow trees that were planted there around 1800, according to the Salem Public Library’s “Salem Links and Lore” online database.

Bethany Bray can be reached at and on Twitter @SalemNewsBB.