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CEO Update: February 21, 2024

February 21, 2024


Last September, we requested support letters for Battleship IOWA’s potential move to West Harbor and you came through in impressive fashion. The heavy stack of letters I presented to the Port delivered an enthusiastic message. But then we learned we’d need more than enthusiasm.

In addition to skyrocketing costs to dredge and move, we were disappointed to learn that the slip was too tight for channel safety and the pier wasn’t strong enough to handle the equipment we’d have to put on it.

So we’re staying put and instead focusing our attention on something much more extraordinary – creating a sense of arrival by connecting the north harbor to the waterfront’s center core, including improving the property adjacent to the IOWA.

That’s why we need your help again.

Picture it. It’s a blistering summer day in the valley. You’re keen to get out and looking for a place to beat the heat.

You search “things to do in LA near the beach” and find the LA Waterfront, which includes Battleship IOWA (the #4 attraction in LA, just behind Universal Studios, the Getty, and Griffith Park), West Harbor, San Pedro Fish Market, Alta Sea, Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, and more.

“Fantastic,” you think. “Views of the water, restaurants, attractions, and cooler temps? Let’s hit it!”

You jump in the car, drive about an hour, looking forward to lovely sightlines, and when you get off the freeway, you are met with this view.

Food At Vicky's Doghouse

​You wonder if you might’ve taken a wrong turn. You seem to be in an industrial area. No signs let you know you’re at the LA Waterfront, or even which way to turn for waterside attractions.

Deciding to trust your GPS instead of your eyes, you turn right.

More of the same.

Food At Vicky's Doghouse

Still doubtful, you drive on, arriving at 1st Street, and encounter bumper to bumper traffic at the confusing entrance to the cruise terminal and Battleship IOWA. Throw suitcase-toting, stroller-pushing pedestrians into the mix, and it’s like a real-life game of Frogger.

Food At Vicky's Doghouse

After waiting patiently in the queue for twenty minutes, you finally park and find yourself not in vibrant, refreshing surroundings, but in monotone workplace chic.

Are you excited to jump out and explore at this point?

Food At Vicky's Doghouse

What if, instead of the asphalt jungle of an industrial complex, you exited the freeway to bright, clear signage, then pulled up at the intersection of Harbor Blvd and 1st Street and were greeted by a clean, lively scene like this one?

Food At Vicky's Doghouse

What if you could park in one place and have access not just to the battleship and Surface Navy Museum, but to an inviting walking path that led along the entire LA Waterfront to restaurants and shops – an area where you could spend the whole day?

Food At Vicky's Doghouse

The conceptual drawings above represent our dream for a vibrant reimagining of this inner harbor – an eye-catching and appealing place to connect millions of visitors with attractions from the cruise ship terminal to the downtown harbor and the new West Harbor development.

We have an opportunity to transform an industrial property into a visitor-serving locality that aligns with the community connectivity plan, as well as maximize visitor economic activity to benefit all entities along the harbor front.

The images offer visions of elements of the plan that focus on:

    • Parking once and staying all day
    • Improving public transit
    • Providing multi-benefit public access (that includes pedestrians and bicycles)
    • Creating points of interest

It starts with a first impression that wows visitors:

    • Greenery, art installations, roadway alignment to ease access to the waterfront, battleship, and cruise terminal, allowing locals as well as visitors a safe, lush space near the water to enjoy time with family and friends
    • A pedestrian friendly promenade that rivals that of other major destinations like San Diego and San Francisco
    • Provisions for checking luggage available
    • Hassle-free access to the rubber tire trolley that stops in front of the community multi-use building next to the IOWA, linking this area to Downtown San Pedro, West Harbor, and the Outer Harbor

We need your help to make these ideas and concepts reality.

How Can You Help?


Time for one more letter. Please write to the Port of LA and ask them to prioritize Public Access Investment Plan (PAIP) funding to create a sense of arrival by connecting the north waterfront to the center core including improving the property adjacent to the IOWA.

We’ve provided another template. Feel free to use it or compose your own message of support, sign it, and email to

Please send it to us no later than March 15. Click the button below to access the template.

You made a big difference last time. Let’s do it once more and create something special together.

Jonathan Williams
President & CEO
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NOTE: If you prefer not to donate electronically, please mail your check to:
Attention: Development Department, 250 S. Harbor Blvd., San Pedro, CA 90731

Thank you to our 2022 donors for their generosity and support. Want to know how your donations are making a difference? Check out our ANNUAL REPORT here.

Click below to learn more and join.

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