Fairhope reopens comments on Working Waterfront


FAIRHOPE – The city of Fairhope is reopening plans for proposed restoration work along the city pier area and South Park bluffs.

The city will take public comments on the Working Waterfront project until Nov. 30, Mayor Sherry Sullivan said. Sullivan said plans for work on the Fairhope Municipal Pier and the bluffs to the south caused public concerns when the $6.2-million Working Waterfront Project was discussed earlier this year.

Sullivan said the city does not plan to hold more public meetings but will take comments on the project. Comments can be emailed, mailed or dropped off at City Hall.

“In particular, what we’re looking for is feedback,” Sullivan said. “I guess the most passionate thing is the bluffs, talking about the bluffs, the accessibility, the living shoreline, some of that stuff, so we’re really asking for people to give their comments and feedback so we don’t have to spend some extra money doing more public engagement, so this is the way we’re going to do that. It’s just opening it back up for public engagement.”

City officials said in earlier meetings that Fairhope is working on a $6.2 million project to stabilize the bluffs over South Beach and make other improves on the pier and park area.

The project is being paid for with money from the Resources and Ecosystem Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities and Revived Economy, RESTORE, Act that distribute funds from the BP oil spill. In Fairhope, the work is intended to stabilize the bluff overlooking Mobile Bay and the waterfront.

The Working Waterfront Project is the first RESTORE project set to start in Fairhope. Discussions on the work began in early 2020, but the project was postponed after the COVID-19 outbreak.

One change discussed earlier this year would include adding terraces to the South Park bluffs. Designers said the work would allow visitors to view Mobile Bay and sunsets and that the slope of the bluff would not be modified. Residents objected to the change and expressed concerns that the bluffs would be dug out or changed.

Another proposal called for moving the parking spots near the pier. The new parking area would be about 100 yards to the north. Other plans also included adding a sand beach where bulkheads are now located on the Mobile Bay shore south of the pier.

Emailed comments on the project can be sent to workingwaterfront@fairhopeal.gov; mail-in comments can be sent to Working Waterfront, c/o City of Fairhope, PO Drawer 429, Fairhope, AL 36533. Comments on social media or in social media groups will not be considered, city officials said.