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Report Urges Commercial Revival for Wilmington

December 06, 1987|SHERYL STOLBERG | Times Staff Writer

A wide-ranging report intended to guide the economic and recreational development of Wilmington--as well as give the community access to the harbor--has been released by Councilwoman Joan Milke Flores, who said she hoped it would serve as "a springboard for commercial revitalization."

Wilmington residents, who often complain that they live in the only Southern California waterfront community without any access to the water, have been anxiously awaiting the study, which offers various solutions to that problem.

The report was prepared by Calvin Hamilton, the former city planning chief who is now a private consultant. Flores said Hamilton unveiled the report Friday at a meeting in her office, attended by representatives from the port, the city Community Redevelopment Agency, as well as three city departments: planning, transportation and community development.

The study, which reads somewhat like a Christmas wish list for Wilmington, offers four major recommendations:

The creation of a 15-acre "comprehensive community shopping center" between Anaheim and F streets and from Fries Avenue to Avalon Boulevard, including a cluster of ethnic food restaurants, headquarters for a major port client, professional office space, as well as a chain market, a drugstore and retail businesses.

A trade market with a Mexican coastal village theme. The market would include fish, produce and flower stands, with cafes fronting the harbor and an adjoining park.

A series of transportation improvements that would "provide a loop of freeway capacity" around the Wilmington portion of the harbor. One of the residents' biggest complaints is that trucks from the harbor rumble through their community, creating noise and pollution and contributing to the deterioration of local streets.

Development of recreational and tourist attractions, including a "unique Scientific/Educational Sea Technology Center and Theme Park and Festival of Ships from throughout the world." The report also suggested an aquarium and exhibits "built on historic themes and internationally significant entertainment and activities."

Flores, who called the study "imaginative," said she asked the officials to have their departments review it and report back to her in 60 days.

Although Flores said she does not know whether all the recommendations are feasible, she believes it is "a good starting point" toward accomplishing her goal of giving Wilmington residents access to the harbor.

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