Long Beach Officials Cheer As CA Taxpayers Will Spend At Least $9 Mil Tidelands Dollars For Beach Concession Stand/Kids Play Area; Use of State Money Approved Without Discussion In 2018 By State Lands Comm'n That Included Then-Lt. Gov. Newsom
|(August 2, 2019) -- Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia and city officials broke ground yesterday (Aug. 1) on a downtown-adjacent beach concession stand/childrens' play area costing at least $9 million taxpayer dollars that will come from CA's shoreline Tidelands (mainly oil revenue.)
On his Facebook page, Mayor Garcia wrote (Aug. 1): "We are incredibly happy to have attended the Alamitos Beach Concessions Ground Breaking this morning. This new project is the first of three stands that will offer a new and improved beach experience to Long Beach residents! We cannot wait for it to officially open in 2020."
LBREPORT.com reported the expenditure in detail in March 2019 at this link (salient excerpts below),
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|The roughly $9 million cost will come from state taxpayers via Long Beach's "Tidelands," a strip of state-owned lands along/adjacent to the shoreline that the state lets the City administer "in trust" for state-allowed purposes. With state approval, the City can tap Tidelands revenue (mainly from oil operations) for purposes ranging from Port operations to beachfront/recreational items.
A three-person state agency, the State Lands Commission (SLC) oversees uses of state taxpayer money from the Tidelands. The SLC consists of CA's Lt. Governor, state Controller and the Governor's Finance Director.
Public records reviewed by LBREPORT.com show that on April 19, 2018, the State Lands Commission -- then consisting of Lt. Governor (now Governor) Gavin Newsom, state Controller Betty Yee and then-Governor Brown's Finance Director, Michael Cohen -- approved an $8.25 expenditure sought by the City of Long Beach for the Alamitos Beach (near downtown) concession stand plus three other less extravagant concession stands further away from downtown with no discussion (as a "consent calendar" item.)
The expenditure was described in a single paragraph:
Alamitos, Bayshore, Granada, Junipero Concessions Stands
The vote was 3-0 to approve with Newsom, Yee and Jacqueline Wong-Hernandez as Alternate for Finance Director Cohen all voting "yes."
The multi-million-dollar concession stand and kids play area will be built across Shoreline Dr. eastward from a Convention Center surface parking lot planned for temporary use as a venue during the 2028 Olympics. It's adjacent to the area on which some Long Beach officials (including LB's Mayor, who has no policy setting authority) have been quietly negotiating (without publicly heard Council dissent) with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on potentially building a major league sports stadium. The speculated pitch to the Angels may also include additional private development on a portion of the publicly owned Tidelands.
At the Council meeting, city staff presented Power Point graphics with additional artist renderings (at this link.)
A city staff agendizing memo described the $9 million Alamitos Beach concession stand and kids play area as follows:
The Project is aligned with the existing pedestrian and bicycle paths east of the site, creating a promenade area in front of the Project site, facing the beach. The main cafe and concession building will consist of a 4,240-square-footbuilding with a first floor and rooftop deck to maximize beach views and the visitor experience. A large outdoor deck will wrap around the south portion of the building where a concession window will offer more traditional "grab and go" type snacks or other food options. Adjacent to the concession area will be an outdoor play area and a separate playground for smaller children. Further west, new public restrooms and a recreational rental building will be built for beach visitors. The Project will also include onsite pedestrian scaled lighting, drought tolerant coastal native plants, a shade structure, wayfinding signage, improvements to the public beach parking lot, and hardscape improvements.
The Alamitos Beach concession stands's $6.5 million construction cost -- using the State Lands Commission-granted Tidelands funds -- came on top of $2.5 million previously budgeted and was approved for expenditure by the Long Beach City Council on March 5, 2019 for "consulting services, design, plan check and permit inspection fees, utility fees, construction support, project labor compliance, and related project support."
The $8.25 million approved on the April 2018 State Lands Commission vote came on top of $3.15 million previously approved by the state body in December 2014 for design/permitting of the four concession stands. It was likewise a consent calendar item (four LB projects totaling $11.7 million)
Between the April 2018 State Lands Commission no-discussion approval and the March 2019 LB City Council voted expenditure, the cost of the Alamitos Beach concession grew from $4.9 million (SLC approved figure) to $6.53 million (Council approved cost figure.) To this, Long Beach city staff's memo to the Council said confidently: "The SLC [State Lands Comm'n] will be notified of the additional expenditures required based on the bids received at the next scheduled meeting."
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