VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – A landmark on Shore Drive will shut down for good this fall. In a couple of weeks the Lynnhaven Fishing pier will close. It looks like it will be sold to a nearby retirement community.
If you know fishermen, you know on each line dangles a fish tale. On the Lynnhaven Fishing Pier, Spencer Dildy has 50 years of fish tales. When he was five he cast off his first line with help from his family.
“My aunt used to drop a line right over the side and catch more fish than anybody I’ve ever seen,” he smiled.
If you roll further down the pier, you’ll meet the Robinsons who are reeling in spot. They come down from Pennsylvania every year.
“It’s a tradition for me and my wife on our way back from usually spending our anniversary in Virginia Beach,” Ruben Robinson said. “We go fish here.
This quarter-mile long pier is built on family tales and that includes the owners.
“Five friends borrowed $10,000 each and built the pier, opened it in up in July 4th of 1956,” current owner Hoyt Duff said.
Hoyt Duff’s in-laws Charlie and Lou Cashman were among the original five..
“By the time they closed the pier in October, they made enough money to pay their loans back,” Duff said. “Sadly, that’s about the same amount of money we make now.”
For more than 60 years Duff says they’ve rebuilt the parts of the pier from storms with the money admission brings in.
“Then when it came to the November Nor’easter (2009) I had to go borrow the money,” he sghed. “I still haven’t paid that off.”
Then Hurricane Matthew destroyed the far end of the pier and they still haven’t been able to afford repairs for that.
“After this year, you can kiss the old pier goodbye,” Spencer Dildy said.
This year the ownership group got an offer from their neighbors at the retirement community Westminster Canterbury.
Duff said they entered into an agreement for sale. However, it’s not final, but they’ve made plans to close the pier.
“It’s a financial decision,” he admits.
Westminster Canterbury won’t comment. A spokesperson said they always look for opportunities to better serve their community.
In the community of fishermen the pier will be a big loss.
“Maybe I can get a piece of wood and hang it on the wall,” spencer Dildy joked. “I’ve been coming to the same place for 50 something years.”
The owners said they will close on November 5th, but they will plan to have a customer appreciation day at some point a few weeks before that.
10 On Your Side also spoke with the owner of the Lynnhaven Fish House, which also is on the land. He said they have no plans to close.