City seeks permit, designers for Marina project

Editor's note: This corrects the name of the mobile home park.

A six-year-old plan to turn public property that currently houses 53 mobile homes into a more public-use friendly space is moving forward as the city prepares to award a service agreement and apply for a permit through the California Coastal Commission.

In March 2009, the City Council approved plans to turn the Marina Mobile Home Park into a public park and community center.

The city is expected to award service agreements to independent design consulting firms during the council's meeting on Tuesday and apply in August for a permit through the Coastal Commission.

Mobile home residents agreed to compensation, and original terms of that agreement had required them to vacate the park by last September. However, the residents may be allowed to stay through the end of the year, depending on how long the permitting takes through the costal commission, City Manager David Kiff said.

Residents were compensated $35,000 per coach, and residents have been renting month-to-month, Kiff said.

Mayor Keith Curry said that while he appreciates that people living there would like to stay on at the bayside property, the future park would allow many more people to enjoy the space as well.

Calling the stretch of beach, which runs from 15th Street to 18th Street, a "hidden gem," Curry said most Newport residents see the trailers and do not realize the area is public property.

The new site, expected to be complete by 2013, would include a 10,800-square-foot community center, an 11,200-square-foot sailing center with an indoor café, a 23-slip marina and Girl Scout facilities.

However, the Girl Scouts may be having trouble raising the money to build their new facilities, Kiff said.

Kiff expects the city to continue reserving the lot space set aside for the Girl Scouts as the project progresses.

The American Legion post on 15th Street will not be affected by the project, he said.

Tuesday's council meeting is set for 7 p.m. at City Hall, 3300 Newport Blvd.

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