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City budget may delay revitalization projects

Other council agenda items include tree replacements along Fourth Avenue and committee appointments.

January 09, 2012|By Mike Reicher

The city's first revitalization projects may be delayed because of limited capital funds, City Manager Dave Kiff said in anticipation of Tuesday's City Council meeting, when three of the initiatives are set to be reviewed.

Proposed landscaping and other streetscape improvements in West Newport, Santa Ana Heights and Corona del Mar are expected to cost more than $10 million to build and more than $100,000 per year to maintain.

"We don't have the resources to bite them off all at once," City Manager Dave Kiff wrote in a newsletter previewing the meeting. "But at least we have a good path to follow as funds become available."

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Later, in an email to the Daily Pilot, he estimated that the improvements could be built within the next five years.

The city's capital improvement budget for fiscal year 2011-12 was $57.5 million and included major projects such as Sunset Ridge Park and Marina Park, although both of those developments have been delayed. Since the budget was finalized in July, the council approved at least one major capital project: new harbor dredging.

Officials also expect to pay $8 million in bond payments, primarily for the under-construction Civic Center in this fiscal year. More than half of that will go toward interest.

The proposed street revitalization plans feature lush, colorful trees and shrubs; monuments marking the city border; curved sidewalk paths; and other permanent features such as short concrete walls that double as seating. Stretches of Coast Highway, Superior Avenue, Balboa Boulevard and South Bristol Street have been selected for the improvements.

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CdM eucalyptus replacement trees to diversify streetscape

The council plans to vote on a selection of trees to replace the eucalyptus removed from Fourth Avenue in Corona del Mar.

The Parks, Beaches and Recreation Commission selected three trees that would be allowed on the street — gold medallion, dwarf southern magnolia and the African tulip — and each homeowner would decide which of the three trees to plant in front of his or her home.

Kiff wrote in the newsletter that the city has identified multiple trees in recent years to vegetate a given street, instead of the historical designation of a single "street tree."

"The variety of height, color and canopy makes for a more aesthetically-pleasing neighborhood," he wrote.

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