Lido Marina Village, Balboa Village areas receive top city priority

City officials have prioritized Lido Marina Village and Balboa Village as the two areas of Newport Beach to get comprehensive makeovers, ahead of Mariner's Mile and other areas.

The City Council will vote Tuesday on a plan for the Neighborhood Revitalization Committee, the group formed earlier this year to fix problems like underperforming retail areas and tired-looking streetscapes. As a result, some business owners and residents will likely see changes to their areas sooner than others.

"It's important to have some quick wins," said Councilman Rush Hill, one of the committee members.

He was referring to some projects that are already underway: Lido Marina Village and the current City Hall site have a tentative land-use plan that the council approved in January; also, the western entry to Corona del Mar will be one of the five priorities this year because the area's Business Improvement District is ready to pay for most of the project, he said.

Meanwhile, Mariner's Mile would be relegated to the fiscal year 2012-13 under the plan. Hill, who represents that district, said he thought the Mariner's Mile planning efforts could begin before then.

The area near the Balboa Pier, dubbed Balboa Village, has second priority, next to the Lido/City Hall site. Officials said they prioritized it because both the Newport Harbor Nautical Museum and the Balboa Performing Arts Theater are trying to raise money, but are hindered by potential donors' negative perception of the area.

"The revitalization of that area is essential for the character for the city," said Marian Bergeson, a member of the Balboa theater's board of directors. She imagined an "attractive area where people want to bring their families."

The committee plans to create an "economic vision and revitalization strategy" for Balboa Village, according to a staff report.

It would hopefully complement past studies that have been done of the area, Hill said.

Other areas chosen for revitalization projects in fiscal year 2011-12 include West Newport Beach, where the city plans a street median improvement project, and Santa Ana Heights, where Bristol Street South would receive new landscaping and other improvements.

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