Public dock anchors in Cannery Village

As Newport Beach's Cannery Village changed from an industrial pocket of shipbuilding and canneries into a residential, entertainment and marine business hub, one thing always was missing: a public dock for small boats.

Now that the city has completed the renovation of a wooden wharf and installed a 100-foot guest dock, boaters can tie up for a short time and visit friends, shop at stores and dine at nearby restaurants. It will be especially useful as the city contemplates a "revitalization" of the surrounding areas of Lido Marina Village and the existing City Hall site, potentially to include more restaurants and shops.

"It's for residents and visiting boaters who wants to take advantage of that part of town," said Ralph Rodheim, a harbor commissioner who was one of the project's first proponents.

Originally proposed around 10 years ago, the Rhine Wharf project ran into the usual hurdles for waterfront projects, such as Coastal Commission approvals. Rodheim and a dedicated group of boaters saw the project through.

Eventually, it took a few months to repair the old wooden wharf and to install the new dock, for a total project cost of $435,000. The gangway is 80 feet long to allow for handicapped access; even at low tide it won't be too steep to roll a wheelchair up or down. The ribbon-cutting ceremony will be Tuesday.

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