The town of Oak Island is thousands of dollars away from owning the Yaupon Pier. Tuesday night, Oak Island's town council will vote on how to finance the $1.7 million project to reopen the Yaupon Pier. For some, opening the pier can't happen fast enough. Oak Island resident, Charlie Wilson has owned Oak Island Sporting Goods, a store dedicated to the fisherman, for the past 27 years. Since the Yaupon Pier closed over a year ago, times have been hard. "Bait sales are down, fish and tackle. Everything is down,” Wilson said. Many of Wilson's customers were people who fished off the pier. Sales have been slower ever since the pier and the restaurant connected to it went into foreclosure. Town officials voted to purchase the property for $1.7 million, which includes repairing the dilapidated pier. "I don't know any other way this pier would have opened if we hadn't taken position. I think it would have sat right here until it fell down,” said Oak Island Mayor Johnnie Vereen. The town has already received $800,000 in grant money to get the ball rolling; $30,000 of it will be used to make initial repairs to allow a safe springtime reopening and $70,000 will go toward additional cosmetic repairs and maintenance when the pier closes again next winter. The town received bids for financing the rest through a ten-year loan for $900,000 at a 4.39% interest rate. For business owners like Charlie Wilson, finding a solution on how to get the pier back open is top priority. "I think the pier needs to be opened back up, whether it is by the town or whether it is opened by a private individual or not. I think the pier needs to be opened." The meeting is set for Tuesday evening at 6:00; WWAY will update how the council voted.
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