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Port And Coastal Commission Work On Embarcadero Compromise

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Staff of the California Coastal Commission and the Port District say they are both confident they can come up with a better plan for public open space on the waterfront downtown.

Staff of the California Coastal Commission and the Port District say they are both confident they can come up with a better plan for public open space on the waterfront downtown. The Coastal Commission has given the Port 60 days to reach a compromise on the North Embarcadero Visionary Plan.

A dispute over a public park that disappeared from Port plans for the bay front near the Star of India prompted the Coastal Commission to delay approving the long awaited waterfront upgrade.

Diana Lilly of the Coastal Commission says it should be possible to reach agreement so that the space linking downtown with San Diego bay is acceptable to all.

“We are going to try and be as creative as possible to come up with something that works for the public and the Port,” Lilly said.

Fred Maas is chair of the city’s redevelopment arm, which is financing the $28 million upgrade. He says if the project is delayed much longer, the money could get eaten up by other things.

“To consider, here we are in 2010, the 9th biggest city in America, with a coastal downtown - and that we still have the opportunity to enhance 1.2 miles of waterfront,” Maas said. “To let that go to waste would be a travesty.”

Port Commission spokeswoman, Irene McCormack, said the goal of the negotiations will be to make the key public space at the foot of Broadway more like a civic plaza rather than a loading dock for cruise ships. She says the space cannot be a park, but it could perhaps have a fountain and greater access to the bay.

The Coastal Commission reviews the plans again in mid-April.

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