Parks, Harbor, Infrastructure Focus of Upcoming CIP Budget

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The sun rises over the moorings in Newport Harbor.
— Photo by Sara Hall ©

Capital improvement projects for the upcoming fiscal year in Newport Beach will focus on park rehabilitation and renovation, Newport Harbor maintenance, street improvements and infrastructure, and city facilities.

Newport Beach City Council reviewed the fiscal year 2019-20 proposed Capital Improvement Program budget on Tuesday.

The CIP serves as a plan for the provision of public improvements, special projects, on-going maintenance programs, and the implementation of the city’s master plans.

It’s important to keep the city looking beautiful and running efficiently, Mayor Diane Dixon noted. It’s a continuous cycle or residents and business owners investing in their properties and the city investing in important projects, she added.

“You’re working at 100 miles an hour to do all these important projects,” Dixon said as she thanked city staff for their work on the CIP. “We are very fortunate, as a city, to even be investing in our infrastructure and our neighborhoods and our harbor.”

The Corona del Mar library branch and fire station project is nearing completion and is anticipated to open in about two months.
— Photo by Annika Helmuth

Public Works Director Dave Webb explained that the CIP sets priorities and appropriates funds for the upcoming fiscal year. The CIP provides a basis for project planning and helps identify potential conflicts, develops and constructs identified public improvements, addresses significant maintenance projects, and responds to changing priorities and conditions.

Priorities for the 2019-20 year include investing in public infrastructure (rehabilitate aging assets, improve vehicle, cycle, and pedestrian flow, improve landscaping, parks, and recreational facilities, undergrounding utilities, and managing harbor and tideland amenities)

“We have a lot of work going on all over town,” Webb said. “It’s good news.”

Through the proposed Capital Improvement Program, Webb commented, the city is maintaining and beautifying neighborhoods, improving city pavement condition, investing in Newport Harbor, rehabilitating existing parks and facilities, and improving cyclist and pedestrian traffic flow.

He also gave a brief recap of the 2018-19 fiscal year.

“It’s always nice to look back before we look forward,” Webb said.

By the end of June, they anticipate 31 capital construction projects will be completed at a value of about $36.1 million. The city completed 90 percent of all CIP projects on schedule (within two months) and about 86 percent within the approved budget (including contingency).

Looking forward, the proposed revised 2019-20 CIP, which includes some new changes and 102 items (projects, programs, and capital expenses), has a total budget of $93.8 million. This is slightly down from city staff’s proposed CIP budget in March of $96.2 million, following some new funding and re-budgeting.

The general fund covers a small portion of capital improvement projects, but a lot of it comes from the Facilities Financing Plan, entitlement funds, funds from specific measures and grants, and more.

The city is considering a renovation for the popular Grant Howald Park in Corona del Mar.
— Photo by Sara Hall ©

“You’re always looking under every rock,” Dixon commented, thanking staff for their work to obtain external funding for city projects and programs.

The CIP budget is broken down into eight functional categories: Facilities; streets and drainage; transportation; parks, harbors and beaches; water quality and environmental; water and wastewater; and miscellaneous.

Out of the eight categories, the largest portion of next year’s proposed Capital Improvement Program budget goes to the Parks, Harbors and Beaches category with $23.2 million worth of projects, or about 24 percent of the entire CIP budget.

Within that category, park projects have a total proposed budget of $12.5 million for the upcoming fiscal year.

The Grant Howald Park Rehabilitation is at the top of the budget list in the PH&B category. At a total cost of about $5.5 million, the project includes rehabilitating playgrounds, sports field, streetscaping and landscaping, fence reconfiguration, sidewalk installation, retaining wall replacement, synthetic turf installation, restroom rehabilitation, utilities undergrounding and replacement of old park equipment.

Within the overarching PH&B category, about $10.7 million goes toward harbor and beach related projects.

“A lot of work (going on) in the harbor,” Webb said.

Moorings in Newport Harbor near Lido Isle at sunset.
— Photo by Sara Hall ©

Harborwide dredging is the big project for Newport Harbor, coming in with a proposed budget of about $4.6 million. This provides for the preliminary planning, design, development, testing and permitting for future dredging of Newport Harbor. This is matching funds for a federal grant the city is hoping to obtain for lower harbor dredging, Webb explained.

Other harbor-related projects include abandoned watercraft abatement, swim platforms, dock maintenance, beach and bay sand management, and bilge pumpout dock/oil collection center, bulkhead and seawall repair, harbor pier rehabilitation, and more.

The second largest CIP budget category is streets and drainage with a proposed $21.2 million worth of work.

Projects include Bayside Drive roadway rehabilitation, pavement rehabilitation at a few locations, alley reconstruction, Marine Avenue reconstruction, several median, landscape and streetscape improvement projects, Newport Boulevard landscape rehabilitation, Balboa Island Drainage Master Plan, storm drain repair and rehabilitation, tide valve replacement, and more.

The facilities category total budget of $15.4 million is the third largest in the proposed CIP.

The solar-powered, debris-gathering water wheel in Baltimore, the same concept that is proposed for Newport Bay.
— Photo courtesy of Billy Dutton/Baltimore waterfront ©

It will cover projects like the Big Canyon reservoir building rehabilitation, library lecture hall design development, Cliff Drive Park clubhouse wall rehabilitation, fire station replacement or rehabilitation projects for Corona del Mar, Lido, and the Santa Barbara Drive locations, design development for the junior lifeguards building, and a remodel of some interior facilities at the police station.

Other projects or programs in the remaining categories include: Balboa Peninsula crosswalk improvements, peninsula summer trolley, traffic signal rehabilitation and synchronization, Dover Shores traffic study, ocean front bike safety improvements, Newport Bay Water Wheel, water main replacements, Balboa Village enhancements, General Plan update, West Newport streetscape, and more.

Council members asked about specific questions, mostly about timelines, funding sources, and status.

For more information and to view the proposed budget, visit


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