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Community Commentary: Let shipwright finish his work

June 22, 2011

Newport Beach is planning to build Marinapark on city-owned land along busy Balboa Boulevard —a sailing center and guest marina that will honor our sailing tradition. Until construction begins, a number of public tennis courts line the street side of the city's property.

Taking a hint from Los Angeles, let Holland, after giving him time to patch his ship's hull together enough to withstand moving, use of one of those courts to complete her reconstruction.

Each court's size is right: 60 by 120 feet will nicely accommodate her 72-foot hull. Each court has a level concrete slab, electricity for tools, and a surrounding chain link fence for protection of and viewing by hundreds of passing residents and visitors.

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Even after Marinapark construction begins, one court could be left intact until Shawnee is completed and relaunched; the contractors can work around the other three sides.

This solution could become a point of pride for the city and visitors' bureau: a public expression of our interest in preserving our nautical traditions and heritage.

And it would be a fitting first step in implementing Marinapark. Come on, City Council, in the timeless words of Johnny Mercer, "accentuate the positive!"

GORDON GLASS is a Newport Beach resident.

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