City officials celebrated the completion of the Heisler Park renovations with a traditional ribbon cutting June 10.
The ceremony took place in front of the newly constructed amphitheater, a centerpiece of the final phase of renovations funded by $7.5 million from grants and city funds.
"Grants are important," Mayor Toni Iseman said. "They made this possible."
Orange County Integrated Regional Water Quality Management funded an $800,000 grant, and the state Water Resources Control Board put in $1 million from the Clean Beaches Initiative fund and another $1.8 million for the protection of the park's "area of special biological significance."
"Why did water support this when it's a park?" Iseman asked.
"This is significant water," she said, waving at Laguna's Bluebelt, sparkling under sunny skies. "The Heal the Bay (nonprofit) gave Laguna waters an A-plus, and that is a real source of pride. It is my pleasure to welcome you today for the ribbon cutting for something so obviously beautiful and a matter of public pride."
The rest of the City Council — Mayor Pro Tem Jane Egly, Elizabeth Pearson, Kelly Boyd and Verna Rollinger — assisted in the ribbon cutting.
"We couldn't have asked for a more perfect day," Egly said.
The final phase, which cost $2.4 million, also includes the restoration of Monument Point and the installation of a new viewpoint on its southern side; renovations of the pathway from the gazebo to the newly constructed stairs to Main Beach and sidewalks, overlook and railing in the area of Diver's Cove; and the installation of a new drainage and irrigation system that protects the park's Marine Reserve and area of special biological significance.
In prior phases, improvements in the areas of Rockpile and Picnic beaches included new restrooms, replacement of pathways, turf, outlooks and stairs.
"Someone like me relies on a team," City Manager John Pietig said. "And that starts with Wade Brown, project director."
Brown masterminded the project since pen was put to paper to prepare a master plan until the last shovel of dirt, Pietig said.
Pietig also recognized City Arts Manager Siân Poeschl for her role in the art selected and installed in the park, and Dan Fatheree, project supervisor for the construction company, Land Forms and Landscape Productions.
"There are minor items that remain to be completed, but we wanted to return the park to its public use as soon as possible," Pietig said at the dedication.
The area will be closed for the Fourth of July fireworks show.