By Mark Edward Nero
Port of Long Beach officials joined with US Navy, Maritime Administration and California Environmental Protection Agency representatives on Aug. 30 to commemorate the ownership transfer of 125 acres of a former Naval complex to the City of Long Beach.
The acreage was part of the former Long Beach Naval Station & Naval Shipyard that the Navy agreed to transfer to the port as part of the ongoing defense base closures that began with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War in the late 1980s.
US Navy and City of Long Beach officials first worked out a lease agreement for the port to take control of the 500-acre complex on Terminal Island in 1998, allowing the Port of Long Beach to break ground on the new container terminal.
The official transfer of ownership is taking place in stages, as environmental issues are resolved. In 2001, the Navy deeded more than half the property to the City of Long Beach. After the current transfer of 125 acres, there are only two smaller parcels left to be transferred in the next few years.
The land transfer process being completed in stages allows for environmental cleanup of the property as needed. Depending on the condition of the land, the process has allowed for most of the property to be safely developed and used as soil and sediment investigations are being completed.
The Maritime Administration, or MARAD, which works to complete the transfer of surplus federal property for the development of seaports, is facilitating the process for the site.