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Marine Stadium added to list of potential Olympic venues, effects on public access unclear

Here are the potential venues Long Beach will consider hosting the Summer Olympics in 2028.

Marine Stadium added to list of potential Olympic venues, effects on public access unclear
People back boats and other watercraft into Alamitos Bay at Davies Boat Launch Ramp in Southeast Long Beach Wednesday, June 5, 2024. Photo by Brandon Richardson.

The Long Beach Convention Center, Alamitos Beach, Marine Stadium and stretches of the shoreline in Belmont Shore are among the potential sites that Olympic organizers could use during the 2028 games, which could limit access to those areas as the games move closer.

Next week, the City Council could approve a “venue use guarantee,” which could lock in those areas as sites that could be used during the 2028 games, with Marine Stadium being the newest addition to the list of potential venues.

It’s unclear what Olympic organizers could have planned for Marine Stadium, but Long Beach has been projected to hold a handful of events that will require waterways.

Deputy City Manager Tyler Bonanno-Curley said the full details of how each venue will be used aren’t expected until October 2027 but the city could know by later this year what events the city will host.

“They haven’t confirmed what events are going to be held outside the city of LA, but in our conversations, it’s pretty clear they’re really interested in using more of the Long Beach footprint for not only Olympics or Paralympics,” Bonanno-Curley said.

Long Beach has been slated for years to host events like handball, the triathlon, swimming, BMX, water polo and sailing events with most of those projected to happen at the Convention Center and its surrounding parking lots as well as the Belmont Memorial Pier area.

But using large swaths of the city’s beaches, parking lots and boat slips could bring inconveniences like limitations on when residents can access their homes during the games and the potential that some of the beach bike and pedestrian paths and shoreline could be intermittently inaccessible.

The 2028 games’ opening ceremony is scheduled for July 14, 2028, and the closing ceremony is scheduled for July 30. The Paralympic games are expected to be held August 15 through August 27.

Jason Ruiz has been on strike from the Long Beach Post since March 21, yet he’s still covering city hall without pay. Thank him for his reporting.

Olympic organizers would have shared use of spaces leading up to the games before an “exclusive” use of the venue spaces would begin where they’d have more control over what happens at the sites.

While the exact footprint of some venue areas still needs to be negotiated with Olympic organizers, proposed uses for the convention center could put the arena, parking lots and garages and Rainbow Lagoon Park off limits or alter how residents and visitors can access them.

The initial Belmont Shore beach area outlined in maps released by the city stretches from Granada Avenue to the Junior Lifeguards Headquarters on the Peninsula. Rosie’s Dog Beach is not part of the initial footprint outlined in the maps.

People walk and ride along the beach path near Bay Shore Avenue, east of Rosie's Dog Beach, Wednesday, June 5, 2024. Photo by Brandon Richardson.

The “waterfront” venue area includes parking lots south of Shoreline Drive, the lot behind the Villa Riviera as well as the sandy area in front of the popular Gaucho Beach concession stand at Alamitos Beach.

This venue could also affect the beach bike and pedestrian paths but city officials said that if access is limited along the paths, then alternate paths would be created.

The Marine Stadium site stretches from Marina Vista Park to the boat slip area at Alamitos Bay and includes Mother’s Beach. The proposed agreement says that the city would look to identify up to 300 boat slips to be used during the games.

Those three venue sites have projected exclusive use periods from early to mid-May to mid-September 2028.

The final footprints of those spaces and still up for negotiation and would be subject to California Coastal Commission approval. The commission regulates developments and events in the coastal zone and to ensure that public access to the coastline is preserved.

Bonanno-Curley said that the exclusive use windows won’t mean that areas of the city will be completely closed off, but how public access will coexist with the games will be part of the ongoing negotiations between the city and Olympics organizers.

“It certainly does not mean that for a four-month period that the beach is closed,” he said. “This is just sort of saying that this is the window of potential impacts and we’ll have to dig into more details of what they’re planning.”

It’s unclear how security will affect the footprint of the sites but a document published by the city said that the games will be a national special security event and the city will work with Olympic organizers and the Department of Homeland Security to ensure a safe atmosphere.

That could mean that residents who live near where games are being hosted like Downtown or in Belmont Shore could face restrictions when entering or leaving their homes.

In Paris, which is hosting the 2024 games next month, heightened security for the games has meant that residents, guests and even people who work in the restricted zones will be subject to background checks in order to access sensitive areas around the game sites.

Bonnano-Curley said the city’s primary focus is to ensure that the events are safe but also limit the impact on residents accessing their homes, boats and other things that could be affected by the games.

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