Pier Damage

The end of the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier is missing its loading docks after the major storm on Feb. 23, 2017, tore them off.

Long Beach is a large part of plans for the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, and Mayor Robert Garcia says he wants the city's amenities ready before then.

Tuesday afternoon, Garcia released a call for an "8 by 28" infrastructure plan for the city. Long Beach currently is scheduled to host water polo, open water swimming, the trathlon, handball, sailing and BMX racing. A temporary sports park next to the downtown Arena with a pool and BMX setup will be the center of the action, but several other venues also will host Olympians.

For example, the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier is expected to be the land base for sailing events. Garcia said he wants to rebuild the pier so it can accommodate a viewing center for all the sailing events. He also wants to rebuild the Long Beach Arena to host handball, and wants a new Convention Center hotel at Pine Avenue and Ocean Boulevard to be done and open by then.

"Long Beach has a proud Olympic history," Garcia said in the statement announcing the initiative. "We need to start planning today to ensure our city is ready when visitors from across the world visit our beaches and our sports facilities. We also need to ensure our transit and transportation options are ready for primetime."

Garcia said he and Councilwomen Lena Gonzalez (First), Jeannine Pearce (Second), Suzie Price (Third) and Stacy Mungo (Fifth) will request a needs assessment and project timeline for the eight projects. The pier and a replacement for the Belmont Olympic Plaza Pool already are on the city's capital projects list.

Perhaps the most controversial of the eight projects is the Belmont Beach and Aquatic Center, which would take the place of the pool that was torn down in 2013. The current design does not include enough seating to host Olympic events, which would take place downtown. But the release says the new pool would be used to showcase Olympic history and host city exhibitions and events.

The city has about $62 million set aside as a down payment for the estimated $103 million pool. It currently is at the state Coastal Commission awaiting a hearing on its design.

In addition to the pier, the pool, the hotel and the arena, Garcia's other four projects are:

Lifeguard Towers — rebuild and construct new lifeguard stands all along the coast.

Beach Concession Stands — reconstruction of three beach concession areas for use by people traveling between the pier and downtown venues.

Airport Improvements — complete improvement plan including reconstruction of rental car area and baggage claim.

Metro Blue Line Improvements — infrastructure improvements along the Blue Line to ensure connection between other sports parks across LA County.

No specific funding source was identified for any of the items. Garcia said that he was inspired by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti's 28 by 2028 initiative.

Harry Saltzgaver can be reached at hsalt@gazettes.com.

Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

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