County officials discuss Marina del Rey’s impending plans and challenges at special night meeting.
MARINA DEL REY ― Harbor-related businesses, boating organizations and boaters filled the Community Room at Burton W. Chace Park in Marina del Rey on April 13, voicing their thoughts and concerns regarding the county’s largest harbor at a special night meeting hosted by the Small Craft Harbor Commission.
Gary Jones, director of the Department of Beaches and Harbors for Los Angeles County, acknowledged the challenges Marina del Rey has with the seemingly never-ending redevelopment projects occurring in the marina. One particular theme emerged from this meeting: Marina del Rey is in need of a community boating center.
“There was definitely a theme [among tonight’s discussion]. There is a need for some center to serve the community that want to use and want access to the water in an affordable way,” Jones declared at the meeting. “There’s universal agreement that a harbor of this size, that serves so many, needs one.”
Harbor Commissioner David Lumian, also known for being a renowned sailing instructor for the American Sailing Association, agreed with Jones but went a little further, stating there should be more than one center.
“We need community boating centers, paddling centers. I would agree with that. I would say ‘centers’ rather than ‘a center,’ Lumian emphasized. “If you look at the great harbors around the country, you have multiple centers at them. Boston, being a big example of that, [is] where you have three major boating community centers as well as several paddling centers.”
Jones stated he and his staff are in full support of pursuing the idea of a community center adding it would serve not just the local community but the surrounding community and boaters from other counties as well as national and international visitors.
“Certainly the staff side, we are very much willing to pursue [a community center], because of what we feel it could provide to Marina del Rey,” Jones affirmed.
The logistics of the center will obviously need to be vetted.
“What that center will look like, how it will operate, where it will be located…obviously details that are essential to the progress of seeing finally a center here in the harbor” is something Jones is compelled to pursue and “putting that together to compel the Board of Supervisors that there is a need and therefore will proceed focusing on a new center…”
In addition to adding community centers in Marina del Rey, Lumian also recognizes a need for a tall ship presence in the harbor.
“I’d like to see a tall ship program in Marina del Rey,” Lumian stated. “It gives a great opportunity for kids to come in and do scientific education as well as [get] practical experience on the water. It also could provide evening and weekend cruises for tourists. I think we should explore that and see if we can do that here in Marina del Rey.”
The Small Craft Harbor Commission, a division of Los Angeles County’s Department of Beaches and Harbors, is the advising body for the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors in regards to matters concerning Marina del Rey.
Parimal M. Rohit photo