Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

Orange County supervisors agreed Tuesday to pay a little more than usual on an outreach campaign to let patrons know the Dana Point Harbor will be open during a renovation project expected to take five years.

Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, who represents the harbor, pushed to use $13,455 from a pot of money that is funded in part by revenue generated by the businesses at the harbor. The merchants have pledged to kick in an additional $6,000.

The board also agreed to extend its contract for promotional activities for another two years with the Dana Point Harbor Association. The county and association have had agreements since 1975 to share the cost of promoting businesses at the harbor.

The two-year agreement approved today has the county providing $153,090, or 79 percent, with the association covering the rest. Today’s agreement marks an increase of 4 percent to $76,545 annually.

“It’s a five-year project that’s starting in the fall, so now’s the time to start that outreach,” Bartlett said. “It’s money well invested.”

The vote was 3-1, with board Chairman Todd Spitzer absent and Supervisor Michelle Steel dissenting, saying she was concerned about spending more money on the revitalization project.

“Why (do) we have to give something more than what they requested?,” Steel said of the merchants, who she said were already going to get a break on rent because of the construction. “That’s really bothersome here.”

Brad Gross, director of the Dana Point Harbor, told Steel the rent reduction is not automatic — it’s tied to a corresponding drop in business. He also pointed out that the Dana Point Harbor Association promotes the entire harbor, which is owned by the county, and not just the businesses.

“It’s a wonderful asset of the county, just like John Wayne Airport,” Bartlett said, referring to a major public institution in Steel’s district. “If we don’t do outreach now, we’re going to lose businesses.”

Bartlett said she was concerned the construction may give people the wrong idea and lead them to assume the businesses at the harbor are closed.

City News Service

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