Thanks to a $700,000 state grant secured through a collaborative effort by city and state legislators, nearly 900 feet of the concrete wall and boardwalk adjacent to the iconic Belmont Park will be completely rebuilt late this year.
The grant, which was awarded by the California Department of Water Re-sources’ Local Levee Assistance Program, will help offset the $2.4 million price tag for the project, which the City Council appropriated in its 2012 budget from capital improvement bonds for the design, permit process and repair of the most damaged portion of the 1925 seawall and boardwalk.
“This is one of the first things our visitors see, our wonderful and beautiful beaches,” said Mayor Bob Filner during a Jan. 4 multi-party press conference in Mission Beach. “And it’s one of the things our residents use. We literally have crumbling infrastructure. It’s not a good message either to our citizens or our tourists, and we’re going to be fixing this stuff as fast as we can.”
In addition to addressing a public safety hazard for residents and tourists who use the boardwalk to jog, walk, bike or skate, repairs to the seawall will also protect the surrounding beach homes and businesses from flooding spawned by wrathful storms or high tidal surges emanating from the Pacific.
“This has been a problem for years,” said District 2 City Councilman Kevin Faulconer, who has worked with the Mission Beach community on the issue over the last several years. “We’ve made some temporary patches, cut off some of the rebar that was falling down, but we knew that we had to have a permanent solution because this patchwork isn’t going to get it done.”
Faulconer, at the urging of the Mission Beach Town Council, helped kickstart the capital improvement project by spearheading the effort to approve funding for repairs to the historic seawall, an objective achieved in last year’s budget as part of the city’s $100 million infrastructure bond.
State Assemblywoman Toni Atkins led the effort on the state level to ensure the city’s grant application got the proper review and was ultimately granted funds, ensuring the first phase of the city’s repair project can now begin.
“It’s really to imagine a more iconic place in San Diego; at the ocean, at the boardwalk in Mission Beach in the shadow of our Belmont Park roller coaster,” said Atkins. “Last fall, all of America watched in horror as Superstorm Sandy destroyed other iconic boardwalks, homes and businesses along the East Coast, and with climate change and the rising sea level that comes with it, we know that it’s just a matter of time until a major storm sweeps our coast and endangers our beachfront, which is so critical to our way of life in San Diego and to our local economy.”
The design and permitting processes will begin late this year and construction is expected to begin in 2014.