Newport council discusses arts, more-concrete needs

The Newport Beach City Council set its sights Tuesday on initiatives for sculptures and streets.

An Arts Master Plan is underway for the city, as is a draft of the Capital Improvement Plan for fiscal year 2014-15, staff explained during a study session.

Richard Stein, executive director of Arts Orange County, a nonprofit countywide arts council, helped to put together methods for developing an arts plan.

Under his vision, applauded by council members, the city's Arts Commission would appoint members of a Master Plan Steering Committee. An inventory would also be taken of the city's "creative sector," detailing venues, arts organizations and arts professionals in the city.

Community outreach would be invited through interviews, focus groups, forums and surveys in order to identify community needs and identify costs, said Library Services Manager Tim Hetherton, who presented the plan.

Arts Orange County hoped to develop the master plan over the next six months so implementation could begin next year, Hetherton said. The group requested $35,000 to compose the plan.

"I urge you to be bold," said Councilwoman Nancy Gardner. "I think there's always a concern when public funds are being spent that can often make things pedestrian instead of vibrant and exciting.

"Obviously, you can go too far, but I think we do have a sophisticated audience here and that we can break some barriers and be more creative and more daring probably than people would think at first take."

Council members suggested a broad look at all forms of the arts, including visual and performance, as well as consideration of existing resources, no matter how small.

The council also discussed the $61 million budget for public works projects in the upcoming fiscal year.

Staff budgeted for various street, parks, harbor and water-quality improvements. Newly paved streets, synchronized traffic lights and repaved tot lots could be coming soon, as might a $200,000 entry arch for Balboa Island and perhaps one for Balboa Village.

Some proposals are as follows:

•Replacement of Corona del Mar's fire station and library: $6,025,000

•Exterior lockers at the police station: $50,000

•Pavement replacement at Ocean Boulevard and Poppy Avenue: $3.2 million

•Park Avenue Bridge replacement: $3.5 million

•Newport Boulevard signal synchronization: $719,190

•New public piers: $400,000

•Bonita Creek Park synthetic turf replacement: $2 million

•Balboa Island sea wall, design and permitting: $650,000

•New maintenance fund for existing facilities: $1.5 million

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