Costa Mesa officials celebrate completion of Arlington Drive renovation

About 60 people gathered Friday to mark the official completion of a roadway renovation project on Arlington Drive in Costa Mesa.

The roughly $4.7-million undertaking — funded essentially in equal parts by the city of Costa Mesa, the OC Fair & Event Center and the Orange County Transportation Authority — resurfaced Arlington Drive between Fairview Road and Newport Boulevard, added a concrete multipurpose trail on the street’s southern side and put in new landscaping and irrigation systems along the roadway.

Workers also installed a new underground storm drain system and a bioswale that will collect and naturally filter urban runoff.

“This is a wonderful day,” Costa Mesa City Manager Tom Hatch told the crowd during Friday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony. “We’re celebrating some great teamwork between several agencies to provide some improvements to the fairgrounds area and for the whole community to enjoy.”

Another aspect of the project, Hatch said, is a new signaled crosswalk that will allow safer passage across Arlington, which separates the fairgrounds from other bustling facilities such as Costa Mesa Middle and High schools, Davis Magnet School and TeWinkle Park.

After cutting the ceremonial ribbon, dignitaries and residents tested the new trail, creating a convoy of bicyclists, walkers and people on scooters.

Near the front of the pack was Hatch, who skillfully swerved down the path on a skateboard.

Kathy Kramer, chief executive of the OC Fair & Event Center, said the project greatly improves the look of the northern side of the fairgrounds and that she hopes it also will encourage more people to walk and bike in the area.

“It took a few years ... but anything good is worth waiting for,” she said.

Al Murray, a board member of the OCTA, which awarded grant funding for the project in 2014, said, “It’s always nice to see an investment come to fruition.”

“Anything we can do to get people active is good for health, it’s good for nutrition and it’s good for our environment,” said Murray, who also is the mayor of Tustin.

Costa Mesa Mayor Sandy Genis described the project as “a great example of what happens when public agencies work together cooperatively.”

Councilwoman Katrina Foley called it “one of my favorite projects that we’ve done lately” and said she hopes similar multipurpose paths will be built elsewhere in the city.

“I am very excited about this thing; I drove it yesterday for the first time,” Councilman Jim Righeimer said. “There are other places in the city where these kind of things can be done. Let’s all work toward ‘yes.’”

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