Can Mariners Mile remain a boating destination?
While it’s not breaking news that the strip is creeping closer to becoming a strip mall instead of a boater’s one-stop-shop, it is disconcerting. For years boat owners flocked to Mariner’s Mile to purchase boats, drop their vessels off to be worked on at one of the many boatyards or to pick up a part from a local marine shop. But soon that will be gone.
Boutiques, art shops, and fast food restaurants and higher end dining are the majority of the shops a driver will see when cruising down the mile. A boatyard, boat rental business and a few dealers along with charter boat rentals are also there – but there should be more.
According to Newport Beach Assistant City Attorney Steve Datum, ‘there are still plenty of marine uses, so it’s not going away.”
But boat owners and longtime residents contest otherwise as they have seen the mile shift from a marine-centered strip mall to a “village” focused on offering upscale dining and shopping.
Datum also mentioned that the city will be reaching out to stakeholders, including the Harbor Commission, to help determine how the village will take shape over the next few years.
Could longtime Capt. Tom Zetmaier, who owns Classic Yacht Excursions, on the northern portion of the strip be right in saying “We old guys had our chance to make our mark and shape the community. Now it’s the younger folks turn. That is change and progress that each generation has to live with. It has been happening that way forever.”
Will progress lead to less marine services?
The city will have to wait and see.