Martinez Mayor's Message
Oct 30, 2014 08:44PM ● Published by Jennifer Neys
by Rob Schroder, Mayor of Martinez
I have had the opportunity to work on many capital improvement projects throughout the city while serving on the Martinez City Council. These include the Marina Vista Streetscape Improvement, installation of outdoor dining platforms, repaving major entrances into town, upgrades to the city water system, construction of the Martinez Waterfront Amphitheatre, opening of the Campbell Theatre in downtown, removal of the blighted ferry landing pier, installation of new launch ramps, and construction of Ferry Plaza at the marina.
Although there are many projects in the planning stage or in process, the revitalization of the Martinez Waterfront is likely to be the one project that will have the greatest impact on the economic development and quality of life to the entire Martinez community. This includes the rebuilding of the aging marina and the development of landside amenities. Martinez is the only city in Central Contra Costa County with a waterfront, and we must make it a place where people from all over the Bay Area will come to stay the night, dine, hike, sail, boat, fish, kayak, see a concert, fly a kite, photograph, bird watch, picnic, or attend a semi-professional baseball game.
The recent passage of SB 1424, which grants the lands at the Martinez waterfront to the city forever, allows us to attract private investment for the construction of water-side and land-side amenities, such as a restaurant, hotel, boat sales and storage, and other recreational activities. In the past, we have not been successful in attracting that private investment because the lease with the State Lands Commission had a finite expiration date. Who would invest millions of dollars in improvements without the security of knowing their investment would have time to generate a return?
The next step in this revitalization process is to plan improvements the community wants at the waterfront and decide where those improvements should be located. This “master planning” will also take into account a future water ferry landing, rebuilding of Waterfront Park ball and soccer fields, Martinez Waterfront Amphitheatre improvements, the Martinez Yacht Club, and the Sea Scouts.
Abandoning the existing marina slips and scaling back in order to alleviate the cost of dredging to only provide a launch ramp and day dock facility is NOT the answer. That plan will not alleviate the need to dredge and will only reduce the cash flow to support maintenance of the waterfront. All marinas throughout the delta, straits and San Francisco Bay require dredging simply because they are on waterways that carry large amounts of silt. The most recent dredge of the marina cleared the silt from the launch ramp to the mouth of the marina with some work at the guest dock and B dock. We were able to perform that maintenance dredge, thanks to a grant from Shell Oil Company, not money from the general fund.
Several years ago, the Department of Boating and Waterways required the city to set up a Marina Enterprise Fund. This fund is completely separate from the general fund and is where all receipts generated from the marina are deposited and all bills are paid. This fund cannot pay for any expenses or capital improvements in any part of the city except the waterfront. Abandoning the marina slips will not free up money to pave the street in front of your home. Funds for paving projects come from the half- cent sales tax of Measure J, gas taxes, the general fund, and state and federal grants.