LOS ANGELES -- Amidst the tall ships’ cannon battle and sword fights at Marina del Rey April 10, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers helped celebrate a 50th Birthday Bash.
Friday marked the day the coastal community of Marina del Rey let people explore the marina and celebrated the 50th Birthday and MarinaFest boat show in the harbor. The Official Commemorative Ceremony, attended by dignitaries from all over the world showed the visitor’s video on the destination, it included remarks from Los Angeles County leaders, investors, the historical society and Brig. Gen. Mark Toy, commanding general of the USACE South Pacific Division.
“While the marina is about recreation and leisure for most of the people, a top priority for Los Angeles County is to ensure everyone is safe,” said Don Knabe, Los Angeles County Supervisor in his opening remarks.
Part of the safety of the marina is the breakwater at the mouth which protects it from wave action and was built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the 1950s.
“My heroes are the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; my heroes literally built this enterprise called Marina del Rey,” said Willie Hjorth, president of Marina del Rey Historical Society.
Some of the people who took part in the venture were recognized during the celebration.
“We are so proud to be a partner with the city,” said Toy. “We have a Division motto; the motto in the South Pacific Division is ‘Building Strong and Taking Care of People.’ That is what this Marina del Rey project is; built by people, for people.
At that point in the celebration, Toy recognized some of the people who worked on the project before turning the recognition to its pioneers.
The general, Col. Kim Colloton, Los Angeles District commander, and David Van Dorpe, the District's deputy engineer for programs and project management, presented a photo collage to the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors for 50 years of partnership.
The celebration continued as they presented scrolls to retired and former USACE employees who worked on the marina since its beginning in the 1950s. The USACE workers were recognized for the design and work efforts in taking and keeping Marina del Rey from the duck hunting marsh it was into the marina it is today.
According to the marina’s ‘Fast Facts’ on the birthday’s website, there are more than 8,800 residents at the largest man-made small craft harbor in the U.S., and the second largest in the world with 4,100 boat slips, divided across three public marinas and 20 private marinas. There is also a public library, sheriff’s station, fire station, three parks, 600 condominiums, 6,000 rental apartments, five hotels and a motel with more than 1,098 rooms. In addition, it has retail and office space along with 28 restaurants for visitors’ enjoyment.
The celebration continued into the evening with a birthday cake cutting, a Three Dog Night concert and fireworks.
The celebration continued April 11 and 12 with a boat parade, tall ships, narrated harbor tours, classic car show, tall-ship cannon battles, family fun and more. For more information go to www.visitmarinadelrey.com/.