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By Lillian Boyd
A ceremony and press conference were held at the Dana Point Harbor for its master lease signing on Friday, Nov. 2. Orange County officials and Dana Point Harbor Partners celebrated the milestone of the 66-year agreement to invest $300 million.
Various leaders spoke to a crowd in front of Coffee Importers at the harbor, including James Lenthall, chair for the Dana Point Harbor Advisory Board and president of the Dana Point Boaters Association.
“No matter your role in Dana Point Harbor, one of us is dedicated to representing your interests. The concept we set forth today is born from this community,” Lenthall said at the podium. “This harbor has benefited many of us and impacted us across generations. We need to cherish it and protect it. Over the course of leading to this day, I have full confidence we are shepherding the harbor into its best future.”
Community meetings planned around a harbor revitalization plan first began about 21 years ago. In 2016, Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett and other county leaders proposed a plan to partner with private developers to see to a new and improved harbor. On July 17, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a recommended action to name the Dana Point Harbor Partners LLC (DPHP) the 66-year master lease holder and operator of the Dana Point Harbor. With the approval, the DPHP begin an option period of 90-120 days in which more structural details will be ironed out.
In a press release, Bartlett stated that with the master lease signed and the partnership formalized, the community will begin seeing improvements almost immediately and as revitalization continues, Dana Point Harbor will continue to retain its local charm while providing a new harbor experience.
“We can’t express how excited we are on moving forward. If it wasn’t for the vision of Supervisor Bartlett, none of us would be here today,” said Bryon Ward, of Ward-Burnham Properties, one of the three development partners.
The Dana Point Harbor Advisory Board will hold its next meeting from 5-7 p.m, Monday, Nov. 26, at the OC Sailing and Events Center in the Pilothouse Conference Room, 34451 Ensenada Place.