Hundreds say farewell to iconic Santa Cruz County pier damaged by recent storms

Hundreds gathered at Seacliff State Beach in Santa Cruz County Saturday to say their goodbyes to a beloved pier that was heavily damaged during several recent severe storms

Part of the pier collapsed during the bad weather, and the remaining structure was recently deemed so unsafe by engineers, that the California Parks Department said it was time for it to come down.  The pier in the town of Aptos has been home to the World War I-era SS Palo Alto, nicknamed "The Cement Ship," since 1929. 

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"It’s been part of our lives for so long, and it’s sad to see it go," said Nicola Souza of Corralitos, who was on the beach with her husband and young son Saturday.

"I can remember as a kid coming here," said Cole Thompson, who traveled with his family from Sonora to say farewell to the pier. "The ship was mostly intact, but you know, time marches on. It’s sort of bringing closure to it a little bit now."

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While saying their farewells, many at the beach, also chipped in to help with a beach cleanup co-organized by the non-profit Save Our Shores. 

"It’s really important for us to be out there, especially when a beach like this has been so impacted," said Peter Disney of Save Our Shores. "It’s really important for the marine environment and all the habitats that live on the coastline for us to be picking up all of that trash, to create a healthy coastline."

After the cleanup, volunteers gathered to grab one last photo before the beach's backdrop changed forever.

"I sort of hope that sometime, maybe after my lifetime, something new will arise here," said Thompson.

California State Parks says the pier is scheduled to be demolished sometime in the coming week.