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Zuma, 3 Other County Beaches to Get 1st New Facilities in Decades

Times Staff Writer

After making do for decades with old facilities, Malibu’s Zuma Beach and three other strands owned by Los Angeles County should get a multimillion-dollar fix-up, the Board of Supervisors agreed last week.

The board gave four of the county’s five beaches--Zuma, Nicholas Canyon, Torrance and White Point--top priority for more than $10 million in bond financing approved in June by voters statewide as part of a $776-million park conservation package.

The fifth county beach, a small one in Marina del Rey, has its own special maintenance fund and is considered apart from the others. None of the $10 million will go to it, officials said.

Stepsisters among the 19 beaches that stretch for 31 miles along the county coastline, the county-owned beaches will be refurbished with at least $7 million over the next five years, said Larry Charness, planning chief for the county Department of Beaches and Harbors.

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Traditionally, the bulk of money for beach rehabilitation has gone to 10 state beaches, because the financing came from state sources, Charness said.

‘Time to Catch Up’

“This time it’s the people’s money and not the state’s, so we think it’s time to play catch-up on these county-owned facilities,” he said.

About $6 million will go to Zuma Beach, just west of Point Dume, where eight restrooms and 11 parking lots will be replaced by 1992. New storm drains will be built, sand walls repaired and a new entrance constructed, Charness said.

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“We acquired Zuma in the mid-1940s, so it’s gone over 40 years without any really major refurbishment,” he said.

Most of the beach’s facilities will be bulldozed and constructed from the ground up, he said.

Up to $200,000 will be spent on Nicholas Canyon Beach, about four miles west of Zuma, to provide a new access road, picnic areas and additional stairways to the beach.

At Torrance Beach, “where everything dates back to the 1940s or ‘50s,” restrooms will be renovated, a second story added to a lifeguard tower and stairs built for safety into a number of steep bluffs now used to get to the beach, Charness said. The price tag could be $500,000.

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Picnic Area Planned

White Point Beach, which joins the state’s Royal Palms Beach at the foot of Western Avenue, will receive up to $400,000. A second restroom is needed for the mile-long twin beaches and an elaborate picnic area is planned for a bluff overlooking them, Charness said.

“We rescued the historic White Point Fountain, which was at a resort down on the beach, and brought it up on top of the bluff. Now we want to build a picnic area around it, and a car viewing area,” Charness said.

Beaches and Harbors, which provides lifeguards for all 19 county beaches and maintains all but two, usually spends about $1 million to $2 million a year on refurbishing facilities. But it will be flush with cash beginning next July.

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The $10 million will be available for the 1989-90 fiscal year. And the department expects to get another $1.4 million at the same time through a provision in the June bond measure that forwards money to counties based on their populations.

A $2.1-million one-time allotment also is expected from a different state law, Charness said.

The first project, the Zuma construction, will be done in phases so the beach will not be closed. As that project proceeds, the other three will be planned and contracts awarded, Charness said.


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