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Alamitos Bay Marina Rebuild Enters Phase 2, But Still Has Financial Snags

About 15 Percent Of The $95 Million Project Is Complete

By Sean Belk - Staff Writer

May 8th - The Alamitos Bay Marina rebuild project is now entering its second phase, which involves demolishing and dredging Basin 1, located along North Marina Drive near the Crab Pot Seafood Restaurant and the city’s marina center offices. But financing for the rest of the project is still questionable, city officials said.

After more than a decade of planning and financial hurdles, the more than $95 million project to reconstruct the city-owned and operated marina officially broke ground last September. Mark Sandoval, the city’s marine bureau manager, told the Business Journal the entire project is now about 15 percent complete.

But overall, the project still has some financial barriers to cross, he said. City Auditor Laura Doud scrutinized the city’s marine bureau last year in an audit report, claiming the bureau was sinking into debt and taking out state loans without a way to pay them back. “We [need] about $40 million and we don’t know how we’re going to get it,” Sandoval admitted, adding that the plan is to move forward “one phase at a time.”

So far, Washington-based Bellingham Marine Industries, Inc. has completed the water portion of Phase 1, which involved designing, engineering and reconstruction of what were previously wooden docks in Basin 4, located near the Long Beach Yacht Club. The newly designed concrete slips are completed and boaters are moving in, he said.

“We’re getting great reviews on the new dock,” he said. Construction of boat-owner restrooms and other improvements, however, is still underway.

During its May 1 meeting, the Long Beach City Council approved amending the city’s contract with Bellingham Marine to $22.4 million in order to begin Phase 2A. The project involves demolishing 168 wooden slips and removing some 60,000 cubic yards of dredge material, which is being deposited into the Port of Long Beach’s Middle Harbor, to meet environmental requirements, city staff said.

About 40,000 cubic yards of the material was found to be mercury, according to city staff. Sandoval told the Business Journal that the highly toxic metal substance is deep within sediments and wouldn’t be an environmental concern if the city weren’t dredging the area. The city does not know the historical source of the mercury. “In those quantities . . . something had to have happened in the past; I don’t know if we’ll ever know,” Sandoval said.

Boat-owners at slips in Basin 1 have until May 13 to relocate to a city-designated relocation spot before demolition begins. The next two stages of Phase 2 involve rebuilding 149 concrete slips and other improvements to the area.

Meanwhile, the city has also started the reconstruction of the fuel dock near the Shoreline Marina, to be completed and possibly reopened by June, Sandoval said. The project involves rebuilding the dock, and installing new pipes and tanks to meet new state regulations for storing underground fuel tanks.

Also, the California Coastal Commission has just approved two projects to rebuild and expand the guest dock behind Parkers’ Lighthouse and to install a temporary guest/event dock around the Pine Avenue Pier, according to Sandoval. The new dock space is adjacent to commercial establishments to provide more parking for boaters.