Newport Beach City Manager Update: Jr. Lifeguard Building, Robotic Lawn Mowers

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Grace Leung, Newport Beach City Manager

By Grace Leung, Newport Beach City Manager

The City’s comprehensive strategy to reduce homelessness includes partnerships with multiple service agencies, nonprofit and community groups. This week the City Council approved a two-year agreement that extends one of those strategic partnerships, following a highly successful first year.

On August 23 the Council approved a two-year grant agreement with Trellis International, a Costa Mesa-based nonprofit, to manage a program that provides ongoing cleanup projects while training formerly homeless and housing insecure individuals to reenter the workforce.

The City’s partnership with Trellis began in September 2021 under an initial, one-year grant. During the past 12 months, Trellis’ Community Impact Team has completed nearly 100 City-directed work projects at 24 locations throughout Newport Beach, including cleanup and beautification efforts at City beaches, parks and facilities.

Under the new, two-year agreement, Trellis will increase its four-hour work projects to 156 a year – two a week from October through April, and four a week during the busier tourist season.

The Community Impact Team (CIT) is a volunteer service program, through which participants develop skills and job traits needed to successfully reenter the workforce. Each team includes three or four volunteers and a supervising team leader. Trellis provides CIT volunteers with work uniforms, transportation to and from the work projects, continuous supervision, water and snacks.

Multiple CIT volunteers have gone on to find permanent jobs and stable housing. At least two homeless individuals in Newport Beach have become involved with the program after seeing volunteers working in the community.

Please visit our web site at to learn more about the City’s ongoing efforts to address homelessness.

Construction Approved for Jr. Lifeguard Building

Construction of the highly anticipated Junior Lifeguard Building will begin in September, following the award of a $6.4 million contract approved by the City Council on August 23. The new facility is expected to be completed by Memorial Day 2023, in time for the summer season.

On August 23 the City Council voted unanimously to approve a contract with Orange-based TELACU Construction Management, Inc. to build a 5,400 square-foot facility near the Balboa Pier that will serve as a permanent home for the City’s popular Junior Lifeguard program. The building will be available for various public uses when the Junior Lifeguard program is not in session.

Jr. Lifeguard building rendering

The total project cost of $7.8 million will be paid mostly through federal funds received by the City through the American Rescue Plan Act ($5.2 million), and private donations to the Junior Lifeguard Foundation ($2.051 million). The project was approved by California Coastal Commission on March 9.

The new facility will replace a temporary trailer that lacks water and sewer connections. The new building will include administrative and event space, expanded storage, locker rooms, and private and public restrooms. Construction will include improvements to Parking Lot A near the Balboa Pier, including the installation of electric vehicle charging stations.

State Gives City’s General Plan Housing Element Green Light for Final Council Approval

On August 24, the state Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) formally notified the City of Newport Beach that the City’s revised General Plan Housing Element meets all state requirements. The notification will allow the City Council to consider final adoption of the Housing Element at its regular meeting of September 13.

The HCD letter is available here for review:

The notification is a major milestone and accomplishment for this important project, which will guide housing development in Newport Beach for the next decade. Just 25 of 197 agencies in the Southern California area and only two of 35 agencies in Orange County have adopted a certified Housing Element in the current cycle. If Newport Beach’s Housing Element is approved by the Council on September 13, it could be certified by HCD as soon as mid-October.

The City greatly appreciates the community’s continued participation and engagement in this challenging project. Questions or comments can be emailed here: [email protected].

Summer Recreation Participants at All-Time High

This summer was the most successful to date for the City’s recreation programs, which included swim lessons, sailing programs and more than 400 different summer camps for children.

More than 7,900 participants engaged in summer programs — more than 1,000 above last year’s number — over the course of 10 weeks.

This summer:

  • The day camp program returned to off-site field trips, and more than 1,000 children enjoyed excursions to Raging Waters, Long Beach Aquarium and Knotts Berry Farm.
  • Swim lessons were a huge hit at Marian Bergeson Aquatic Center with more than 900 participants learning how to swim and gaining confidence in the water.
  • Marina Park Sailing Center was bustling with residents and visitors taking advantage of on-site kayak and stand-up paddleboard rentals. The Marina Park Sail Pass and sailing instructional classes were also more popular than ever.
  • Pint Size Campers, our staff-run pre-school program, provided 200 youngsters a full summer of activities, water games, and weekly surprises like bubble parties, clown magic and reptiles.

Robotic Lawn Mowers Return to Civic Center

The City has purchased three automated, electrical lawnmowers for the Civic Center Green, following a successful pilot project to demonstrate the technology that began in 2017.

During the pilot project, a robotic mower was found to have several benefits: Electrical power to reduce pollution; quiet, all-weather operations; labor cost savings; remote control capabilities; and the ability to cut grass into fine mulch.

Robotic lawn mowers

The new mowers include a more robust body construction with three cutting blades each and updated GPS communication software. Together, the three automated mowers — in different colors with designs that resemble a bee, a ladybug and a turtle — will complete the Civic Center Green mowing once a week.

Junior Lifeguards Conclude Summer Program

About 1,500 participants took part in this summer’s Newport Beach Junior Lifeguard Program, which concluded August 4. This year’s program saw a return of special events that were postponed for the past two years due to COVID restrictions, including graduation ceremonies (shown in the photo above). Many thanks to the participants, families and lifeguard staff for another successful year. We look forward to next year’s program, which will be the first in the new building!

Mayor’s Youth Council Accepting Applications For 2022-23 School Year Through Sept. 5

The Mayor’s Youth Council is now accepting applications for the 2022/23 school year. This educational program gives high school students an in-depth look at careers offered in local government and provides a forum to express opinions, creativity, and civic mindedness.

The Mayor’s Youth Council is comprised of three different functions: education, service and outreach. In addition to one-on-one mentoring with City staff, Youth Council members will also be involved in the planning and implementation of community events and engagement with their peers. High-school aged residents are invited to apply by Monday, September 5. Click here for more information or to apply:

Homelessness Community Forum Series

Beginning next month, through November, the City will present a series of free, one-hour public forums featuring agencies that work closely with our staff to provide services for people experiencing homelessness in Newport Beach.

  • September 12, 6 p.m., at the Civic Center Community Room, 100 Civic Center Dr., featuring City Net. Jessica Bruce, director of outreach and engagement, and Valerie Carter, supervisor of the Newport Beach team, will present an overview of City Net’s services, outreach strategies, and role in housing and sheltering people experiencing homelessness.
  • October 19, 6 p.m. at the Civic Center Community Room, 100 Civic Center Dr., featuring Be Well OC. Alyssa Guerrero, supervisor of the Newport Beach team, will present an overview of Be Well OC’s Mobile Crisis Unit and the wellness campus in the City of Orange.
  • November 16, 6 p.m., at the Civic Center Community Room, 100 Civic Center Dr., featuring Share Our Selves. Christy Ward, chief executive officer for Share Our Selves, will discuss the Costa Mesa-based nonprofit’s work in providing outreach, medical, and social services to the community.

If you’d like more information on the community forums or the City’s efforts to reduce homelessness, please contact Homeless Coordinator Natalie Basmaciyan at (949) 718-1991 or by email. You can also visit our homeless data dashboard for the most up-to-date information on our outreach efforts:

Be Well Mobile Crisis Response Update

The Be Well mobile crisis response team operates in Newport Beach 12 hours a day, seven days a week to respond to mental and behavioral health crises. The mobile unit is staffed with mental health specialists and EMTs, and works closely with the City’s police and fire departments.

This week the Be Well team:

  • Collaborated with the Huntington Beach Police Department to shelter an older adult at the Costa Mesa Bridge Shelter. The person stayed in a Huntington Beach hotel following an eviction in Newport Beach.
  • Transported one person to an emergency room for treatment.
  • Transported 6 people to services, shelter intakes, and appointments.

Homelessness Update

The City of Newport Beach provides a comprehensive response to address homelessness through a coordinated effort by City staff, contractors, partner agencies, and nonprofit groups.

This week, the City’s homeless outreach and response teams:

  • Continue to shelter people. Twenty people who had been experiencing homelessness in Newport Beach are now sheltered in the Costa Mesa Bridge Shelter.
  • Completed an intake at the Huntington Beach Navigation Center with an older adult. The person has strong ties to Huntington Beach and is now sheltered with access to housing navigation services.
  • Enrolled three older adults into services.
  • Helped three people obtain a Social Security card, birth certificate and new photo ID.

To donate to those experiencing homelessness in Newport Beach, please visit our Good Giving Program web page at



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