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OC Register: Dana Point Harbor revitalization a long time coming

By October 27, 2017October 25th, 2019No Comments

October 26, 2017 at 7:38 pmAs your Orange County supervisor, as well as a longtime resident and former mayor of Dana Point, I am pleased to announce the Dana Point Harbor Revitalization plan is finally underway.

(This article was originally posted in OC Register)

Twenty years in the making, the revitalization project will transform our beloved harbor into an extraordinary new crown jewel the entire county can enjoy and be proud of. The public-private partnership committed to this project represents the best of the county and our community, and the fact that all our hard work and determination is now paying off feels wonderful.

Built in 1968, Dana Point Harbor has been in need of infrastructure and facilities improvements for quite some time. Two decades ago, former Supervisor Tom Wilson created the Dana Point Harbor Revitalization Task force, helping the county craft a comprehensive plan that looked to the future. He and his successor, former Supervisor Pat Bates, provided the leadership that led to the Board of Supervisors approving the revitalization plan in 2006, and successfully secured the entitlements for the commercial core that allowed work to begin.

Since I took office as your Fifth District supervisor, we have witnessed three important milestones:

• In 2016, the county approved the public-private partnership model, which allowed us to reach out to the private sector for expertise;

• In July that year, we broke ground on street improvements around the harbor; and

• Last week, with community and business support, we selected Dana Point Harbor Partners for the public-private partnership.

Dana Point Harbor Partners is comprised of three co-managing partners made up of Burnham Ward Properties (commercial core portions), Bellwether Financial Group (marina and dry stack storage) and R.D. Olson Development (hotel component).

Because the county does not have expertise in constructing and operating marinas, commercial cores or hotel development, the public-private partnership model will result in a higher-quality project in a more expeditious timeframe.

This is an important point because, prior to the approval of the public-private partnership, the county anticipated shouldering the full cost and responsibilities of the project. I look forward to working with our private-sector partners and expect this project will serve as an important model for the region.

The source of funding for the project is also significant, as the $20 million subsidy for Dana Point Harbor Partners comes from Tidelands Fund 108. These are dedicated funds earmarked exclusively for Dana Point Harbor, consisting of rents and leases of land (such as restaurants) on or adjacent to the state tidelands in Dana Point Harbor.

We all have an important role to play in the revitalization of our harbor and are firmly committed to seeing it through to fruition. Projects such as this are often called a “labor of love.” And it is certainly love — from our community, the county and the developers — that is turning this dream into a reality.

Supervisor Lisa Bartlett represents the Fifth District, which encompasses Dana Point Harbor.