Surf City Nights expanding to Fifth Street

Huntington Beach Surf City Nights received the green light Monday to expand its nighttime street fair onto Fifth Street.

The City Council voted unanimously to approve the permits needed to allow the Business Improvement District to continue hosting its weekly event along Main Street in the downtown area with the addition of the street area in front of The Strand, a dining and shopping center.

"For four hours every Tuesday, we have a farmer's market, music, food, activities for kids, booths for nonprofits and other interesting and fun merchandise," Mayor Pro Tem Joe Shaw said. "Almost everyone I've talked to loves Surf City Nights and says it's one of the best things that we do.… So I think it makes sense to expand it over to Fifth Street."

Strand property manager Lori Eckman said the expansion should attract more people to that side of the block.

"I do believe that this added expansion to Fifth Street is something that would be really good for The Strand and the tenants on Fifth Street," she said. "The Strand needs this type of exposure to bring more people and more parts of the community over to Fifth Street."

Because of noise concerns, the expansion area will not include all the features found at Surf City Nights. There will be no live music on Fifth Street, but arts and crafts and other low-noise activities are planned.

To ensure that the change doesn't become a nuisance to neighbors, the council is requiring the Business Improvement District to submit an annual report on the status of the event, including any complaints.

The weekly event started in 2007 with an average of about 3,000 people a night, Surf City Nights manager Mary Ann Senske said.

She said the gatherings now bring in more than 5,000 people a night.


Fireworks issue en route to the ballot

Also Monday, the council voted 5 to 2 to continue the process of placing the legalization of fireworks on the November ballot.

Councilwomen Connie Boardman and Jill Hardy dissented.

Boardman and Hardy volunteered to sign off on the arguments against legalizing state-approved fireworks in the city, while Mayor Matthew Harper and Councilman Joe Carchio volunteered to be on the pro side.


Restoring young sports grant program

Council members voted unanimously to direct city staff to work on bringing back the city's youth sports grant program by the 2015-2016 fiscal year.

Established in 1995, the program assisted in funding field improvements, such as lighting and irrigation systems, according to a report prepared by Mayor Pro Tem Joe Shaw.

The program, which was funded by Huntington Beach's park acquisition and development fund, has paid for about $2 million in improvements.

It was discontinued in the 2011-2012 fiscal year because of budget cuts.

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