As Chair of the Board, as well as the immediate past chair of the Government Relations Council on Local Issues, it is an honor to lead the Chamber during a year when we will see a transformational project come before our community. Both the Board of Directors and the Government Relations Council have identified revitalizing the city’s waterfront as one of the Chamber’s top priorities. The Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) was released in mid-November. The 6500 page report studied potential environmental impacts created by the project. The only two significant operational impacts that can’t be fully mitigated are the tsunami threat which impacts most of California’s coastal communities, as well as increased noise as a result of more people congregating at the waterfront.
The Waterfront has been a key project for the Chamber due to the economic benefits it brings to the city and our local businesses. Economically, the project will create about 2,500 jobs and bring in an estimated $3 million annually to the community, which will go toward necessary public services, like education and public safety.
The current waterfront has many issues. The parking structures are disintegrating before our eyes with large chunks of concrete falling regularly creating public safety issues for anyone who visits the waterfront. Until recently the waterfront had higher vacancy rates than you would think. The announcement that CenterCal would be leading revitalization created a buzz for both local businesses and national brands like Barney’s Beanery, to want to locate at the waterfront in an effort to be part of the transformation.
The process is just getting underway, but the road to approval will be filled with spirited debate and passion from all sides. We must do our best to be positive and promote this once-in-a-generation project for Redondo Beach.
The waterfront was once the lifeblood of our city. However, years of neglect and a lack of meaningful improvements for decades have left the waterfront a shadow of what it once was. We now have the opportunity to reestablish our waterfront as the crown jewel of the South Bay.