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Business Owners, Residents Team Up to Save Fisherman's Village

The petition so far has 500 signatures to save 'the jewel of Marina del Rey.'

Photo courtesy Los Angeles County
Photo courtesy Los Angeles County

A group of Marina del Rey business owners and residents are mounting a petition drive aimed at preventing the potential demolition of the New England-style buildings at Fisherman's Village to make way for a relocated boat launch and storage area.

The petition, which had 500 signatures as of Thursday afternoon, calls for the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to recognize the buildings as historic on their 50th year in 2015, stating "Fisherman's Village is an iconic image of Marina del Rey."

The petition was started by Plinio Garcia, who owns Indie Plush, a toy store in Fisherman's Village. He acknowledged the architecture may seem dated to some, but to himself and others, it is "the jewel of Marina del Rey."

"What we find exciting now is there is a renaissance happening at Fisherman's Village, with people that are local," Garcia told Video News West. " ... That's going to be lost if we don't win our campaign to save Fisherman's Village."

The Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning is in the midst of collecting public comment on the 25-page Marina del Rey Visioning Statement, which lays out the future revitalization of the marina over the next 15 to 20 years.

"The county does have a responsibility to make it a world-class destination," said Gina Natoli, the department's supervising regional planner.

She said the visioning document, which is expected to be considered by the regional planning commission in August and go before the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors by the end of the year, addresses the question of how the county can revitalize the marina.

"We now need to accommodate rowers and stand-up paddlers and kayakers. There are a lot of different constituents now," Natoli said.

The hope is to turn Marina del Rey into a place where people can park and spend the whole day walking, biking or boating, she said. The visioning statement calls for the development of four main districts that would allow for a continuous walkable promenade.

One recommendation is to move the marina's boat ramp from Admiralty Way to Fiji Way, where Fisherman's Village stands. The idea is to transform the area on Admiralty Way into a modern retail center with waterfront activities, cafes, a hotel and other attractions.

The county wants to transform the disjointed marina into a cohesive area, Natoli said.

"(We want to) get them in, get them parked and give them something exciting and relaxing and water-oriented in Marina del Rey," she said.

The proposal to move the boat ramp has come under fire from some. Mike Leneman, who has been sailing and building boats for 35 years, told the Daily Breeze that the plan to move the boat launch could result in accidents.

"You have the best launch in all of Southern California. There's no reason to spend $8 million to move it," Leneman told the newspaper.

A man who identified himself as William Hicks signed the petition, writing on its website that Olvera Street is to downtown Los Angeles as Fisherman's Village is to Marina del Rey.

"Every area should have a bit of its history preserved, and not sell out due to 'perceived property values,"' Hicks wrote.

— City News Service

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