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Newport's next public pier is coming this summer to Central Avenue

Newport Beach’s next public pier is coming to the turning basin area this summer, funded entirely by private and grant dollars.

The Central Avenue pier will be open to smaller craft in a part of the harbor tucked between the Newport Boulevard bridge and the Elks Lodge.

In addition to serving locals, the pier should be a convenient amenity for visitors to the nearby summer anchorage, said Chris Miller, Newport Beach’s harbor resources manager.

“Our system of public docks is growing, but for decades it has been focused just along the peninsula and Balboa Island,” he said.

The cost of the Central Avenue pier is covered by a roughly $75,000 grant from the California Division of Boating and Waterways and a $350,000 donation from the Newport Harbor Yacht Club, which is fulfilling a condition of its coastal development permit for its clubhouse replacement project. City staff estimates the pier will carry a price tag of about $286,000.

The remaining funds are expected to largely cover improvements to the end of Central Avenue, which the city plans to spruce up once the pier is completed. Right now, the street end is a strip of concrete with a couple of benches and a railing.

This will be the city’s 13th public pier. The City Council approved a construction contract earlier this month, and the pier should be open by late summer, Miller said.

A 50-foot-long gangway will connect to the 84-by-10-foot floating dock, which will have 14 cleats spaced four feet apart on the backside for small dinghies, according to a city staff report. A 20-foot vessel may dock at either end of the float, and at least three or four 20-foot boats can dock on the float’s bayward side. The gangway will be positioned diagonally between the float and seawall, minimizing the dock’s extension into the navigational channel.

The Newport Harbor Yacht Club reached out to the city after the California Coastal Commission required it to contribute to a public-serving harbor project. Miller suggested the Central Avenue pier.

More public dock space is expected to open next year. The Irvine Co. is partnering with the city to add 12 public slips as it extends its private Balboa Marina just east of the Coast Highway bridge. Construction on that project is expected to begin in early 2018.

hillary.davis@latimes.com

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