Millions in redevelopment funds slated for gateway improvement, downtown parking

OCEANSIDE — With $11 million in downtown redevelopment funds on the table, City Council slated $2.1 million for the Mission Avenue gateway improvement project and $8 million for a mixed-use parking lot and office space project on Pier View Way and Cleveland Street.The decision came in a 3-1 vote March 28, in which Councilwoman Esther Sanchez voted no and Mayor Jim Wood was absent.

The approved mixed-use parking project has been on the drawing board for 10 years. It will provide 360 parking spaces and office units that will generate a daytime population that will benefit downtown restaurants and businesses.

Currently two downtown surface parking lots sit on private property. City Manager Peter Weiss said it is likely the lots will be developed in the next few years due to current development going on, including the five-block CityMark project. He added that this would leave the city short on public parking spaces.

“In the next five years, if they’re not in place to supply parking, it could be problematic,” Weiss said.

The Mission Avenue gateway project also got an OK. The project will turn the stretch of Mission Avenue west of Interstate 5 into a one-way street with striped-in bike lanes, widened sidewalks, reverse angle parking and landscaping. The goal is to make the downtown area a more walkable community.

The Mission Avenue gateway project may receive SANDAG funds, which will cut city costs.

Any remaining funds are earmarked for $2.2 million beach restroom renovations.

Residents and business owners voiced an immediate need to improve dated restrooms for residents and visitors. One resident called the restrooms a deterrent that he avoids at any cost.

Councilman Jerry Kern suggested that restroom renovations be done over time with future Capital Improvement Program funds. He added that more costly improvements should be funded now.

“We only have one opportunity to have this much money,” Kern said.

Projects that were not funded were an $11 million three-level parking structure on Myers Street, and an extensive overhaul of the beach amphitheater.

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