Berkeley City Council requested $15 million Oct. 26 for one-time funding in the fiscal year 2022-23 state budget for replacing infrastructure at the Berkeley Marina, as first reported by Berkeleyside.
According to a letter to the Senate Budget Committee, Berkeley City Council members have stated that funding has come from grants, loans, the Marina Fund and Measure T1 as of now. Infrastructure for the Berkeley Marina is more than $100 million underfunded and funds were requested to provide aid in improvement projects to preserve the Berkeley Marina in future years.
According to the Berkeley Pier-Ferry Planning Project, the funds are being requested as part of the Berkeley Marina Area Specific Plan, or BMASP, a multiyear project to promote environmental protection and recreational use of the Marina, while also providing the necessary framework for future financial sustainability projects.
The BMASP will include dredging the entrances to the main channel, replacing docks and adding two parking lots, in addition to widening the Cesar Chavez Park Trail to meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards.
Berkeley City Council unanimously approved the request of funds Oct. 26, said Councilmember Rigel Robinson.
City Council members noted in their letter that the city of Berkeley hopes to uphold the Marina’s legacy as being the “heart” of recreational activities and transportation. They plan to preserve the Marina’s legacy by restoring the pier, which can have the dual purpose of being a commercial ferry terminal and a recreational area.
The city has expended funds and grants worth $26 million and an additional $5.5 million in state loans to study and improve infrastructure on the Berkeley waterfront, the city council letter writes.
“The city is taking big strides right now to revitalize the waterfront and ensure the long-term stability of the Marina,” Robinson said in an email. “Despite our best efforts, however, there are still massive unfunded needs.”
A second project closely coordinated with the BMASP is the Pier-Ferry study, a seven-year project anticipated to be completed in 2027, according to the Berkeley Pier-Ferry Planning Project. The ferry service will be used as alternate transportation during emergency situations.
The operation of the ferry service at the Berkeley Waterfront will be funded by the Water Emergency Transportation Authority and passenger fares, the Berkeley Pier-Ferry Planning Project stated.
The service will also benefit the Marina Fund by increasing the customer base and overall visitors at the waterfront.
According to Stefan Elgstrand, the spokesperson for Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin’s office, the Marina Fund is primarily being funded by berth rentals and commercial leases and has been able to receive funds from the American Rescue Plan Act for the next couple years.
Additional revenue is anticipated to come through the development of the pier into a ferry terminal and addition of a second hotel, Elgstrand said.
“Having spent my childhood on the Waterfront, the Marina will always hold a special place in my heart,” said Councilmember Terry Taplin in an email. “I am deeply committed to investing in a revitalized waterfront that supports recreation, relaxation, and enrichment.”