By Grace Leung, Newport Beach City Manager
Happy New Year! I hope you all had a fun, restful and refreshing holiday season.
City staff and I are already off and running, with a number of exciting projects lined up for 2023 that will help enhance the quality of life in Newport Beach, improve the environment and expand services provided by the City. Here are a few of note:
- The new Junior Lifeguard Building at the Balboa Pier is expected to be completed by Memorial Day, in time for the summer season. The 5,400 square-foot facility will serve as a permanent home for the City’s popular Junior Lifeguard program and be available for various public uses when the program is not in session.
- Construction is expected to begin shortly on the new Superior Avenue Pedestrian/Bicycle Bridge and Parking Lot project, following approval by the Council in November.
- A critical dredging project will commence in the lower Newport Harbor federal channel this spring to improve navigation and increase tidal flushing. The project, a partnership between the City and Army Corps of Engineers, will remove about 1.2 million cubic yards of accumulated sediment, returning the waterways to their original depths of -10 to -20 feet.
- The Library Lecture Hall, a 9,500-square-foot facility planned for the south side of the Central Library, may begin construction this year. The Council may consider a construction contract as soon as this spring, with construction anticipated to be about 14 months. The Lecture Hall is being funded through a public-private partnership.
- Public outreach will commence on a proposed project to rehabilitate the Newport Pier and McFadden Plaza area. With community input, City consultants will develop proposals to replace or refurbish the pier and plaza, public restrooms, lifeguard headquarters, parking lots, and potentially reconfigure the bike path as it intersects with the plaza.
- Design work will kick off on a facility replacement for the Balboa Branch Library and Fire Station No. 1 building on the Peninsula. There will be opportunities for public input this year in anticipation of construction in 2025.
These and other projects will be discussed at the City Council’s annual planning session on Saturday, January 28 from 9 a.m. to noon in the Council Chambers. The public is invited to attend and provide input.
Newport Beach Public Library Awarded 4 Stars
The Newport Beach Public Library has been awarded 4 Stars in a national ranking compiled by Library Journal.
The 2022 Library Journal Index of Public Library Service and Star compares peer libraries in eight areas: physical circulation, circulation of electronic materials, library visits, program attendance, public internet computer usage, Wi-Fi sessions, electronic content retrievals, and library website visits.
Newport Beach Public Library is the only Star Library recognized in Orange County and Just one of twelve in California.
Newport Beach Weathers First Storm of 2023
Newport Beach weathered the first storm of 2023 with no significant impacts. Minor flooding, debris washing up on the beaches, and two downed trees were reported.
Crews maintained the height and stability of existing sand berms in preparation for the storm, and on Thursday created new berms in the West Newport area, between 36th and 54th streets, to break up strong incoming waves. Staff was in the field monitoring low-lying street areas for flooding, and pumped water that accumulated in some areas on Balboa Island and the Peninsula.
The storm brought a considerable amount of trash and debris to the shore. Cleanup crews were working soon after the rainfall and will continue in the coming days and weeks. The saturated soil and wind gusts caused two trees to be uprooted, and a dozen trees suffered limb breaks. Fortunately there were no injuries and only minor property damage.
City Recycles 48 Tons of Christmas Trees
Since the holidays, Newport Beach’s Christmas tree collection program has diverted more than 48 tons of trees from landfills. Trees are recycled along with other organic waste.
The free collection program, for CR&R customers, continues through January 15. If you still have a tree waiting to be recycled, place it on the curb for collection on your normal service day between now and January 15.
To help reduce clutter at the curb, please put your tree out only on your regularly scheduled collection day. Ornaments and other decorations must be removed. Trees larger than six feet can be cut, or treated as a bulky item pickup, scheduled through the CR&R hotline at (949) 667-4158. Please note if a tree is covered in fake snow, or “flocked,” it cannot be recycled and must be placed in a black-top cart or scheduled for a bulky item pickup.
For questions about tree recycling or other waste and recycling operations, visit the City website https://www.newportbeachca.gov or contact Refuse Manager Charles Springer at (949) 718-3466.
Civic Center Green Turf to be Replaced Following Rain Delays
The 20,000-square foot Civic Center Green hosts a number of special community events each year such as the Mayor’s Egg Race and Summer Concerts on the Green, as well as many private rentals.
Eight years of wear and tear, since the opening of the Civic Center, have made it necessary to replace the turf. In December, crews removed the old turf and began grading and preparing the soil for new sod.
The City’s intention was to finish the project by the New Year; however, it was delayed by the recent storms and rainfall. Crews will finish the work once the storms have passed, and the Civic Green will be ready to start hosting more fun-filled events in 2023.
General Plan Committees to Reconvene Jan. 18
The City is working with the community to update the Newport Beach General Plan to align with the community’s goals and vision of Newport Beach for the future.
This is being accomplished primarily through the General Plan Update Steering Committee (GPUSC) and the recently appointed General Plan Advisory Committee (GPAC). It has been 16 years since the General Plan was last revised comprehensively, although some sections have been updated, such as the housing and circulation elements.
The GPUSC and the GPAC will hold a joint public meeting on January 18. City staff will provide an orientation for members with an overview of the General Plan.
Please visit www.newportbeachca.gov/GPUpdate for more information and to sign up for e-notifications. The community is invited and encouraged to participate throughout the comprehensive review and update.
If you have any questions, or to learn more, please email [email protected].
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:
- Assisted a resident with suicidal ideations and transported the person to a treatment facility.
- Transported a person to a sober living home for an intake appointment.
- Transported two people to an emergency room for treatment.
- Transported ten people to services, shelter intakes, and appointments.
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:
- Housed a mother and her son in an apartment in Irvine. The pair experienced homelessness in Newport Beach for six months.
- Reunified a man with his family in Pennsylvania. The man experienced homelessness in Newport Beach for a year and stayed at the Costa Mesa Bridge Shelter for two months before reconnecting with his family.
- Transported a veteran client to an intake appointment at the new HB Oasis non-congregate transitional housing facility. HB Oasis is an older motel converted into transitional housing through the State’s Project Homekey initiative.
- Collaborated with Hoag Hospital to place a disabled older adult into an assisted living facility.
- Sheltered a woman in a motel prior to her intake appointment at Grandma’s House of Hope. The woman started a new job during this transition into interim housing.
- Continued to shelter people. Nineteen people who had been experiencing homelessness in Newport Beach are now sheltered in the Costa Mesa Bridge Shelter.
- Placed three people into the Yale Navigation Center.
Click here to view the latest homeless dashboard, which includes key monthly and yearly data on the City’s homeless response: https://www.newportbeachca.gov/trending/community-issues/homelessness/monthly-homeless-count.