With a biting wind whipping off the water, Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy unveiled a $560,000 fishing pier at Smith Point Park on Sunday.
The pier, built with county funds appropriated several years ago, was named in honor of the late John Fritz, a former chairman of the county board of Parks, Recreation and Conservation and the Sporting Advisory Council. Fritz died in 2008.
“Can you believe with this vista that there’s never been a pier here,” Levy said.
The 150-foot-long pier has a 27-foot-long gazebo with a solar-powered safety lighting system.
The pier is located on in the northeast corner of the Smith Point Park parking lot and extends 95 feet into Narrows Bay, which is home to striped bass, bluefish, porgies and snapper.
Levy also announced that the county is nearing a 18-month construction contract on a $5.2 million restoration project for the 51-year-old Smith Point Bridge.
Plans are to replace repair sections the bridge remove rust corrosion and give it a heavy paint job to prevent future corrosion. It will also get upgrades to electrical and mechanical systems for the drawbridge.
“This is the gateway to the most heavily used park in the county system,” Levy said, adding that the project is a temporary fix ahead of a hoped-for full replacement of the bridge, for which Levy said he would seek federal funding.