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Bill Would Authorize Funds From State to Help Rebuild Huntington Beach Pier

Times Staff Writer

Assemblyman Dennis L. Brown, a fiscal conservative who is known for “no” votes on state spending bills, nevertheless has decided the state should help reconstruct the Huntington Beach Municipal Pier.

Brown (R--Signal Hill) has introduced legislation to help rebuild what once was California’s longest pier by using money from the state’s general fund. The bill does not specify an amount, Brown said, because at this point the state’s budget and the cost of rebuilding the pier are uncertain.

The pier was severely damaged last January when storms tore away 250 feet. In July, engineers declared the pier unsafe and closed it. They have recommended that it be entirely rebuilt, a job that is estimated to cost nearly $11 million.

Ron Shenkman, former Huntington Beach mayor and chairman of a pier fund-raising committee, said the committee has raised $75,000 and eventually hopes to raise $1 million from business and private donations. Shenkman said the group also intends to raise funds by selling “grant deeds” for square-foot-size pieces of the pier at $25 each.

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Shenkman said the group hopes to get the balance of the financing from city, state, county and federal funds. The county already has authorized $250,000.

Although the pier is in Huntington Beach, Brown said use by residents of Los Angeles and other Southern California counties make it more of a state issue than a city one.

“A very small percentage of the folks who take advantage of the pier come from Huntington Beach,” Brown said Tuesday. He said a city survey found that between 30% to 40% of the people using the pier are from Los Angeles County.

Brown said engineers are doing another study to determine if parts of the pier can be saved, thus cutting the cost of restoration. Even so, the costs are estimated to be too high for a city budget to handle, Brown said.

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Brown said the bill will not be heard in committee until March or April. By that time, he said, a more clear-cut figure on financing should be available.


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