BERTH 55 BUSINESSES RECEIVE SHORT-TERM REPRIEVE FROM PORT OFFICIALSBy Sean Belk
Port of Long Beach officials are giving three businesses on Berth 55 a “short-term reprieve” from eviction proceedings, according to a statement released this morning by the Save Berth 55 community group, which went on to state that “the Port’s goal to close the businesses at some future date remains the same.”
Indications that Port officials had issued a stay of eviction were first reported late Thursday on Naples-Belmont Shore Patch, which cautioned readers that the story had not been definitively confirmed.
The statement from Save Berth 55 arrived via e-mail today at 8:39 a.m. It confirmed that the three businesses—Queen’s
Wharf restaurant, Long Beach Sportfishing and a fish market—will not be forced to end their 40-year stay on Berth 55 on October 19, which was the original deadline of a 180-day eviction notice issued by the Port in April. However, the grace period is for an “undetermined period” of time, which gives the Port and the businesses to continue negotiations.
The Port says Berth 55 is the best available site for a public safety complex that would include a fireboat station, police vessel and Port-related contractors. The businesses are being displaced mainly due to nearby construction projects, including the replacement of the Gerald Desmond bridge and the Middle Harbor redevelopment.
“Although this may seem like good news, beyond the fact that Berth 55 has been offered a short-term reprieve, there are many details to work out to make this a viable possibility,” states the release from Save Berth 55. “Berth 55 has been given an opportunity to stay open past its expected shut down date and that is a necessary step in continuing the efforts to save the public access to the Port, the businesses and the jobs they create.”
The text of the release added, “Efforts to save Berth 55 are still very much ongoing and we ask the public to temper your enthusiasm and continue to make your voices heard as the process continues. We do not wish to minimize the Port’s acknowledgement of the public voice in the matter and we appreciate the gesture and all who played a part in the decision.”