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Mailbag: Museum will only enrich the Fun Zone

November 02, 2011

Re: "Taking concerns to social media," Oct. 30: I want to thank the Daily Pilot for its recent coverage of our plans to revitalize the Newport Harbor Nautical Museum and Balboa Fun Zone. Your coverage talks about a wonderful past, the fond memories many of us have and, inevitability, the change that is coming to this location. So, I would like to set the record straight about that change and our plans for it.

Our objective is to merge the Balboa Fun Zone experience with the rich nautical history of our area, and provide an educational yet entertaining experience for the families, schoolchildren and tourists who are among the more than 1 million people who already visit the area. Our goal is to inspire a new wave of ocean exploration among the next generation of explorers and stewards of Earth's ocean frontier.

Our plans include building a new facility on our current location that provides a dynamic new venue for an ocean–themed experience, while blending with the surrounding Balboa Village and retaining aspects of the old Fun Zone such as the Ferris wheel. The city of Newport Beach has taken proactive measures to address parking concerns and has bought the parking area adjacent to our property. They plan to add badly needed parking to the area in support of the ongoing Balboa Village revitalization efforts. These plans will in no way affect other arcade and amusement attractions on adjacent properties; rather, they will enhance what presently exists.

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Already nearly 1,000 residents and business owners have had an opportunity to preview our plans for revitalizing the nautical museum since its unveiling in October and the overwhelming majority of comments have been enthusiastic and positive.

The introduction of our plans is just the beginning of a community outreach process that includes public open houses, additional studies and lots of interaction with our neighbors and city officials. The museum has served the community since 1986 providing quality exhibits and educational experiences for people of all ages. We hope to continue that role for years to come.

Scott and Jane Calder

Scott Calder is an Newport Harbor Nautical Museum board member. Jane Calder is a museum volunteer.

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