1980s Malibu Beach Esplanade Proposal Makes Repeat Appearance
• Is the Transitional Malibu of 2012 Predisposed to Consider Alteration of Another Historic Viewscape
BY BILL KOENEKER
The Malibu Beach Esplanade, which has been shepherded by local designer Ann Ryan for several decades, first made a contemporary appearance when a request was made by Ryan in 2011 for the City of Malibu’s grant fund program. Ryan applied for $85,000 for the esplanade.
The project abstract characterized the project thusly: “The Esplanade will create pedestrian walkways, bikeways, viewing deck, open space environments, trail linkages and beach access.
The Esplanade will provide a safe linkage of the recreational, cultural and historical resources of the area with the commercial core and Civic Center of the City of Malibu.
“The Esplanade will enhance the visual character of Malibu with the utilization of the design elements of landscape, streetscape, physical linage and design linkage.” The entire budget of the grants program was $75,000 that year and Ryan was not granted any funding.
In 1986, a news story about the project announced that it was ready to start and was being financed, according to Ryan, the president of the private, nonprofit corporation that was formed to build it.
Ryan told the newspaper the corporation had enough money to build the walkway, after receiving a $407,000 grant from the state Coastal Conservancy and Los Angeles County had also authorized $440,000 for placing utilities underground in the walkway area.
It was also reported that the state Department of Parks and Recreation had contributed $80,000 for stairs to the sand at Malibu Pier.
At the time, Ryan indicated another $150,000 was needed for amenities such as benches, lamp posts and landscaping.
Ryan told the newspaper the esplanade could be extended across Malibu Creek to Malibu Lagoon State Park at a later time, but that more money would be required.
The report indicated the county planned to build the esplanade along Cross Creek Road to Civic Center Way.
Again in 2012, Ryan sought funding from the city’s general fund grant program for $5000. “They did not receive any money from the city,” said Assistant City Manager Reva Feldman.
In a brief interview, Ryan acknowledged applying to the city along with other local nonprofits for its grant program funding.
The designer, who said she spent decades on designing the facility, recalled the long history of trying to get the design built.
She said it was the usual red tape and bureaucratic wrangling that has stalled the project for so many years.
Ryan indicated the state and county funding once awarded to the esplanade plans is no longer attached to the project.
The Esplanade project has generated recent interest and is expected to be discussed by the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission.
When the project was first proposed, it generated considerable controversy and met with opposition from the surf community.
Until the proposal is presented at a public forum, it is too early to tell if it will receive a more favorable reception.