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Costa Mesa council gives thumbs-up to Eastside pocket park

Eastside pocket park
The vacant parcel at University Drive and Santa Ana Avenue in Costa Mesa, top, will be redeveloped into a pocket park, as depicted in the bottom rendering.
(Courtesy of city of Costa Mesa)

A vacant, dirt-filled lot in Eastside Costa Mesa will see new life as a compact playground and green space, following a unanimous City Council vote Tuesday night.

The .15-acre space on the corner of Santa Ana Avenue and University Drive, which is currently blocked off with a fence and carpeted with a layer of overgrown weeds, will be remade into a pocket park for the surrounding neighborhood. The small green space will feature a playground set, a variety of native plants, tables, seating and a couple of shade covers.

“This is a creative use of space,” said Councilman Manuel Chavez.

Under the council-signed agreement, Orange County — which owns the land — will cover the project’s design and construction costs. Costa Mesa will pay for maintenance going forward, which is estimated to cost about $12,000 a year, according to a city staff report.

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The park is expected to be complete by next fall.

New tenant for bridge shelter building

The homeless shelter that is set to open in Costa Mesa next year will get a new neighbor, courtesy of another unanimous council vote.

Hajoca, an industrial supply company, will move into half of the building at 3175 Airway Ave., where the city is developing its long-term shelter. The company also has a property across the street, at 3170 Airway, but needs more warehouse space for supplies such as water heaters, pipes and sinks.

On top of $200,000 in upfront capital improvement costs, Hajoca will pay the city $132,272 a year for the next five years to lease the space, according to a city staff report.

Construction on the property is expected to begin around the new year and wrap up in mid-2020, the report states.

Grant will fund more traffic enforcement

A recently received grant will allow the Costa Mesa Police Department to ramp up its traffic enforcement efforts in the coming year.

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The $260,000 grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration — which the council accepted Tuesday — will fund four DUI checkpoints and other special enforcement operations targeting traffic violations. It also will pay for six officers to receive advanced DUI enforcement training.

In 2016, California’s Office of Traffic Safety named Costa Mesa fourth-worst out of 57 similarly sized cities for overall traffic safety, according to a city staff report.

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