Belmont Shore Pier.jpg

The entrance at the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier.

Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier off the Belmont Shore coast has been a target for restoration and refurbishment for decades.

Tonight, Thursday, it will be the target of dreams — visioning — during an online meeting hosted by Third District Councilwoman Suzie Price. It follows a meeting in February 2020, shortly before the coronavirus pandemic hit.

"With the future of the pier in mind, this community meeting will feature a discussion led by our Public Works Department and Tidelands team for residents to provide input on what they would like to see in a new Belmont Pier," Price said in a release announcing the meeting. "This is an opportunity to discussion how the pier could be improved and what new amenities or designs residents are interested in having at this large city facility."

Twenty years ago, the Veterans Memorial was added to the name of the pier, and some upgrades took place. That included lighting, power infrastructure beneath the pier, fish cleaning stations and an entryway.

Mooring buoys near the end of the pier were added in later year, along with floating docks to allow for getting people on and off boats, including Long Beach Transit's AquaLink water bus.

Then in February 2017, a major storm churned up large waves that tore those floating docks away, depositing them on the beach. Concerns over the pier's structural integrity forced events to cancel, and there still is a limited capacity enforced, and the pier has limped on primarily as a fishing site.

Then Los Angeles won the bid to host the 2028 Summer Olympics. Long Beach sports locations were part of the bid. When Mayor Robert Garcia unveiled what he called an Eight by ’28 plan for facility improvements, the pier was front and center.

While sports listed for presentation in Long Beach in 2018 did not include sailing, it would make sense to move them to courses off the pier if the facility was capable of hosting them. For years, the end of Belmont Pier has been headquarters for the prestigious Congressional Cup, match race sailing put on by the Long Beach Yacht Club.

In the February 2020 meeting, guiding principles were determined. They range from greater connectivity to the shore and activities there, enhanced safety and security, flexibility to host major events while being attractive and used by locals, and creating a sustainable approach into the future.

Also at that meeting, other examples of successful piers were shown. They range from the Santa Monica Pleasure Pier to half-mile long Santa Cruz Wharf.

The Thursday, March 18, meeting will begin at 6 p.m. To register for the meeting, go to bit.ly/belmontpiercm2. For more information, call 562-570-6300 or email district3@longbeach.gov.

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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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