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Replacing Aquatic Park a Key to Harbor Project : Environment: Critics of development aimed at reviving Long Beach tourism are disturbed by planned displacement of public land along downtown shoreline.

July 29, 1993|RICK HOLGUIN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Legally, the city should have little difficulty removing Shoreline Aquatic Park and Lagoon, which hosts small fish, crustaceans and various birds.

A spokesman for the California Coastal Commission indicated in a letter to city officials that the park and lagoon could be removed to create the tourist harbor as long as an equal amount of parkland and lagoon habitat is created elsewhere.

California Coastal Commission approval to reshape the waterfront should be relatively easy to obtain because the park and lagoon are not natural; they were created with landfill, the letter said.

While the City Council took no action on the harbor plan last week, it did decide that the Queen Mary will stay where it is for the time being.

Ehrenkrantz & Eckstut had proposed moving the historic ocean liner to the base of the proposed pier, making the vessel the jewel of the harbor development.

But the council said it would be too expensive to move the Queen Mary, and that the ship would dwarf other components of the proposed tourist harbor.

The City Council hired a new operator for the Queen Mary last year and decided to keep the ship in Long Beach for as long as five years to determine if the landmark could make ends meet.

If the council decides to keep the ship, Ehrenkrantz & Eckstut would have to redesign part of its plan, finding a new place for the proposed cruise-ship terminal, amphitheater and parkland.

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