Newport Beach officials seek residents' input on location of community center

Residents are split on two possible sites for a new community center in West Newport, according to the city's online poll.

As of Thursday, the vote was split 48.8% to 43.8% for a site at a city utility yard at the end of 16th Street and a site at Superior Avenue and West Coast Highway, respectively.

Unless the numbers changed significantly by Tuesday's City Council meeting, staff intends to recommend that the council pursue preliminary site plans for both.

The city utilities yard would be made available by merging municipal uses there into another yard on Superior Avenue. The Superior and West Coast Highway site would be carved from a location across the street from where construction of Sunset Ridge Park is underway.

Although staff received input on the sites and possible amenities at a community meeting earlier this month, they also want residents to continue to submit their thoughts through an online tool called Connect Newport Beach at

Emails, calls and comments at the council meeting are also being taken into consideration, though staff is working to be sure not to count votes by the same people submitted in multiple forums.

"Everywhere I go, I'm asking people what they think. We need that," said Councilman Tony Petros.

He later added, "We should be gathering as much input as possible to make sure at the end of the day, when the ribbon is cut, people are thrilled to be there and feel like it's their home."

Forty-eight people had responded to the poll when the percentages were released Thursday, but the number had nearly doubled by the end of the day and was expected to grow, said city spokeswoman Tara Finnigan.

Assistant City Manager Steve Badum hoped people might have time to chime in over the long weekend.

"We'll see what happens Tuesday morning when I go online and see where we're at," he said. "I think the trending right now is kind of similar to that original vote."

Collecting more information on both sites should help council members move toward a decision that accurately reflects what the community wants, staff said.

If the council approves city staff's suggestion, issues such as design and time frame for construction will be looked at, as will cost, Badum said.

Also at Tuesday's meeting, council members will return to an earlier request for a change to the use of the land where the Riverside Avenue post office is.

Council members had asked for more information from the applicant, but staff recommends that the issue be continued indefinitely because it has not been provided.

The regular council meeting begins at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center, 100 Civic Center Drive.

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