The California Coastal Commission has given the green light to the city to build a new bay front park and marina, but the plans to construct a lighthouse were shot down, officials reported.
The commission unanimously approved Marina Park on Wednesday, but voted against the plan to build a 71-foot lighthouse. The new park -- which is estimated to cost between $20 - $28 million -- will be built on the Balboa Peninsula between 15th and 18th Streets. When its finished, Marina Park will include a 23,832-square-foot multi-purpose community and sailing program building, public bay front beach, Girl Scout building, public marina with 23 slips and a 200-foot-long side tie area and various park amenities like basketball courts, a children’s play area and 157 public parking spaces.
Mayor Nancy Gardner said the park will be a great asset to the city.
“A project designed to open up 10 acres of waterfront land for a public park is extremely rare in Southern California and we feel privileged to have this opportunity in Newport Beach," Gardner said. "We appreciate the Coastal Commission’s support and are particularly grateful for the many residents who worked so long and hard on this project.”
The park will be built on a site that has been a mobile home park for the last 50 years. Tara Finnigan, city spokeswoman, says the city and residents of the 52 mobile homes reached an agreement in 2007.
"The city and residents have regularly communicated during the past five years, as the project moved through various phases of planning and permitting," Finnigan explained. "The coaches and other structures will be removed to prepare the site for park construction."
City Manager Dave Kiff said he appreciates the residents' cooperation.
“The residents of Marina Park have been troopers throughout these times. They love where they live – and appropriately so. It’s a wonderful place. They have my admiration for how they have handled this process.”
Finnigan said a construction start date has yet to be scheduled. Coastal Development permits generally have a two-year window to start construction.
“This is a big day that brings us nearer to a really wonderful community project," Councilman Mike Henn, who represents the Marina Park area, said. "The park at Marina Park will be one that many generations in the neighborhood will treasure and call their own.”