Improvements coming to Huntington Beach’s Bluff Top Park

State Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris, center, with other officials at Bluff Top Park improvements groundbreaking.
State Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris, center, and Huntington Beach Mayor Kim Carr, third from right, join other officials as they stand in front of an installation of wooden lodge pole fencing during a groundbreaking ceremony at Bluff Top Park on Tuesday at Patriot Point in Huntington Beach.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

Some of them are rusting, while others are just falling apart.

Either way, the weathered metal handrails along the bluff tops of Huntington Beach’s coast do not exactly scream “Welcome to Surf City.”

But that will finally change.

City officials held a groundbreaking ceremony for the Bluff Top Park Improvement Project on Tuesday morning at Patriot Point.

The first phase of the improvements, which began Tuesday and is slated to run through November, is to install new wooden lodge pole fencing along a 2-mile stretch of the bluff tops. New metal railing will also be installed on the staircases. Phase one improvements are estimated to cost $1.2 million.

“I can tell you that being on City Council, after the homeless issue, one of the biggest things we hear about is the railing here at Bluff Top Park,” Huntington Beach Mayor Kim Carr said. “Obviously, if you come to Huntington Beach, you want to go to the beach ... I can’t tell you how long this [project] had been on the books, and how long this was on our wish list.”

Two miles of wooden lodge pole fencing will replace these old weathered handrails along the bluff tops.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

Phase two of the project includes widening of the bike pathway and trail, replacing the access ramps leading toward the trail and general landscaping improvements. Construction on that phase is scheduled to run from January through April 2022 at a cost of $2.5 million.

Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach), whose 74th District includes portions of Huntington Beach, appropriated $1.7 million of state funding toward the project. The remaining approximately $2 million has been budgeted through the city’s Park Development Impact Fund, City Manager Oliver Chi said.

Petrie-Norris attended Tuesday’s event, as did Assemblywoman Janet Nguyen (R-Fountain Valley), whose 72nd District also includes parts of Huntington Beach. Carr, Mayor Pro Tem Barbara Delgleize and City Council members Dan Kalmick, Natalie Moser and Rhonda Bolton were also present.

“The restoration of this path will improve coastal access, improve bike-ability and walk-ability,” Petrie-Norris said. “I think most importantly, it’s also going to improve access for residents with mobility challenges.”

Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris speaks during Tuesday's groundbreaking ceremony.
State Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris speaks during a groundbreaking ceremony for Bluff Top Park on Tuesday at Patriot Point in Huntington Beach. Petrie-Norris appropriated $1.7 million in state funding toward this capital project.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

Petrie-Norris commended Huntington Beach for being a leader in accessibility. In May, the city debuted a new Mobi-Mat at the beach.

“It’s something that means a lot to me,” Petrie-Norris said. “My mom was paralyzed, and she spent the last two years of her life in a wheelchair. Being able to still see the coast, being able to still see the ocean, that brought her so much joy in her final years.”

Huntington Beach Public Works Director Sean Crumby said he was also excited to kick off the project. He noted that the city’s beaches draw about a million visitors annually.

“This is really the meeting place and gateway to the city,” Crumby said. “It’s on pictures, postcards, social media nonstop. So this really is a unique opportunity for us to just add to our largest amenity in the city.”

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