Since joining the City Council, I have been strongly advocating for Long Beach to study Breakwater re-configuration. We made significant progress by funding the Breakwater Reconnaissance Study, and then we even set aside $4 million to complete the next phase of the study, which was expected to cost $8 million, with the Federal government responsible for funding the remaining $4 million. Well, we never got the funding support from Congress.
However, there is now good news to report. As you may have read in the Press-Telegram, the Army Corps of Engineers now estimates that the study may only cost $3 million, and be completed within the next 3 years. This is incredibly great news for those of us who believe that reconfiguration could lead to a positive transformation of our shoreline, our downtown, and our economy.
I strongly believe that reconfiguration would be an economic boon to Long Beach. We would see our shoreline full of beach goers, surfers, visitors and local residents enjoying the surf and sand. Businesses would see the benefit of more tourists, and home values along the shore would continue to rise. Most importantly, we would be restoring a natural habitat that existed for many years before the Federal government built the breakwater.
The study is important because we need to ensure the complete protection of coastal homes and other properties on the peninsula and along our entire shoreline. We can only reconfigure the Breakwater if we are able to protect coastal properties, as well as our economic assets like the Port of Long Beach. As a city, we deserve a definitive answer to this question. Can we reconfigure the Breakwater, bring back wave activity, and restore an ecosystem, while protecting Long Beach homes? I hope the answer is YES.
We need to answer this question as soon as possible, and I am looking forward to this issue coming back to the City Council in the next few months. The progress on the Breakwater would not have been possible with the leadership of our Mayor, Councilman Patrick O'Donnell, our city team, and the advocacy of the Surfrider Foundation. In addition, I hope you had a chance to read Thursday's Press-Telegram editorial on the Long Beach Breakwater. They argue that it is time to move forward on the reconfiguration study, and I couldn't agree more. Here's the link.