Jessica Cejnar Andrews / Friday, March 10, 2023 @ 2:43 p.m. / Community, Local Government

Crescent City Can Finally Use Its $3 Million Prop 68 Grant, But Construction Hinges On Coastal Development Permit

Crescent City Councilors and Planning Commissioners got their first view of a new Beachfront Park general development plan on Feb. 27. | Image courtesy of Crescent City

The bike park and pump track is at the top of the list for Beachfront Park’s big redesign, but don’t expect to see pump bumps or drop offs materialize until at least later this year, Crescent City's manager says.

City Councilors on Monday unanimously approved an agreement with the California Department of Parks and Recreation to receive $3 million in Proposition 68 dollars — adding to the $5 million Prop 68 grant the city received in late 2021.

Both the City Council and the Planning Commission signed off on a general development plan for Beachfront Park last month, which sets the pathway for designing the new amenities. However, construction can’t start until the city gets a coastal development permit, City Manager Eric Wier told the Wild Rivers Outpost on Friday.

“Beachfront Park is an amazing park and it’s right on the coast, within the Coastal Commission’s jurisdiction,” he said. “We were really hopeful to break ground on the bike park later in the summer — later in 2023. That is completely conditioned upon our approval of this coastal development permit. That would still be our hope, but that’s an extremely optimistic schedule.”

The Council’s approval of the $3 million Rural Recreation and Tourism Grant comes about six months after the state announced the recipients back in August.

Last June, six months after receiving the $5 million Statewide Park Program Grant — another Prop. 68 award — Crescent City hired Greenworks PC to put together a design team. But it couldn’t move forward on the entire project until both parties agreed on the Rural Recreation and Tourism Grant contract, Wier said.

As a result, it likely won’t be until spring of 2024 before the bike park construction begins with the new amphitheater, playground expansion, Tolowa interpretive walk and one-mile loop to follow, Wier said. A majority of the construction will then come in 2025.

In addition to the joint meeting between the City Council and Planning Commission on Feb. 27 and Monday’s City Council meeting, Wier said he met with the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation Tribal Council on Thursday. Wier will also meet with Elk Valley Rancheria’s tribal council on Monday.

“We will have public meetings when it comes to each of these different amenities,” Wier said. “We’ll have a public meeting for the pump track as it gets to the 30 percent design component. We’ll continue to have good community engagement all the way through so we don’t get to 100 percent design and then someone has a great idea we didn’t hear about or consider.”

Since the city first began asking the community what it wants, there have been a handful of tweaks. This includes changes to the amphitheater so that it’s not only designed for a concert, there’s a small overlook that can be used for a wedding ceremony or a more intimate performance, Wier said.

Larger performances could also incorporate the nearby Waterfront Plaza, he said.

On Feb. 27, Paul Agrimis, Greenworks PC’s principal, said the general development plan encompasses the area between the S Curves on U.S. 101 to the Battery Point Lighthouse Overlook in the west. In addition to the Beachfront Park redesign, an architect on the design team is exploring projects that include reinventing the Cultural Center as a multi-agency “Del Norte Discovery Center.”

As a result, a Greenworks PC representative has been meeting with the Crescent City-Del Norte County Chamber of Commerce, Redwood State and National Parks and the Redwood Parks Conservancy.

Wier said he envisions the entire area, including Downtown Crescent City and a new transit center at K and Front streets to have a more cohesive feel with each other.

On Monday, Wier told City Councilors that when they sent out a request for proposals for a consultant who could design Beachfront Park, staff had the potential $3 million Prop 68 grant in mind. Greenworks had to show the city that it could design an amphitheater and a waterfront plaza and the other amenities planned for the park.

Councilor Jason Greenough said while he was excited about the first $5 million grant, he was disappointed at having to leave the amphitheater out of the project. He was glad that the state released a second pot of money. He said he viewed the amphitheater as a game changer.
“I guess I envision a Jacksonville-type concert scene if we could get in on some of those concert tours,” he said, referring to the Britt Festival.

Greenough’s colleague, Kelly Schellong, who was appointed to the City Council in January, asked about maintenance and extra staff, including finding a contractor to conduct concert management.

Wier said there have been some initial discussions with Brookings as a potential model since it has an ongoing summer concert series. He said outsourcing that management is also a possibility.

“The way (the amphitheater) is designed, you could put some temporary fencing to contain people and sell tickets,” he said. “But it would be more of a challenge (for) a weekly concert series to put something like that up.”

Schellong pointed out that the city is projected to have $287,000 in unallocated moneys at the end of the year. She suggested putting some or all of it into a fund for ongoign maintenance of Beachfront Park.


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