County Seeks to Share Repair Cost for Venice Pier With Los Angeles

Times Staff Writer

Los Angeles County has asked the city of Los Angeles to share repair costs for the Venice Pier, which was closed to the public five months ago because of major structural problems.

The county made the proposal during negotiations for a new joint-powers agreement with the city to maintain the pier and Venice Beach. The 12-year old agreement expires May 31.

Ted Heyl, an assistant planner with the city Department of Parks and Recreation, said that although the pier is in worse shape than expected, the city expects to reach a new agreement with the county on sharing repair costs.

Closed Since November

Once a gathering place for fishermen and strollers, the 23-year-old concrete pier has been closed since Nov. 18, when county officials discovered a 120-foot-long section slipping from the pilings. The county closed bait and snack concessions and blocked the pier's entrance at Ocean Front Walk.

Ted Reed, Beaches and Harbors Department director, said that county lifeguards later noticed severe cracking beneath the entire 1,200-foot length of the pier. "The situation was dangerous . . . and we had it closed.

"If, in fact, (the pier) needs almost a total reworking underneath, you're looking at an awful lot of money, so we have to be sure about what we have."

Reed estimated the cost of an entire overhaul at up to $2 million. The state of California also may provide funds for the restoration, he said.

The county recently spent $2 million to repair the Manhattan Beach Pier, under its beach maintenance agreement with the city of Manhattan Beach.

"Piers by and large take a hell of a beating over a period of time, particularly concrete piers when they begin to get cracks. All of a sudden, you can get some tremendous cracking," Reed said.

Rough waves caused by a 1983 storm along the Southern California coast may have had something to do with the damage to the Venice Pier, Reed said. The storm damaged a number of piers in Orange County, he said.

The 2.5-mile-long Venice Beach is owned by the city of Los Angeles, one of six city-owned beaches maintained by the county. The county runs parking lots and concession stands, provides lifeguards and clears trash.

The county also runs beach parking lots for the city of Santa Monica and maintains Will Rogers State Beach.

Providing these services costs the county about $17 million a year, said Eric Burdon, assistant director of the county Department of Beaches and Harbors. Proceeds from the parking lots and concessions make up $8 million to $9 million of that cost, he said.

The city, county and state are paying for renovation of the city-owned Cabrillo Pier near San Pedro, Heyl said.

The city is also renegotiating its agreement with the county to maintain the city-owned Dockweiler Beach, a 3.5-mile beach just south of Marina del Rey, he said.

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