Don Lane and sam farr accept the $850,000 grant awarded to support the Municipal Wharf Master Plan by the Federal Economic Development Administration. Photo by Sal Ingram.

Mayor Don Lane and congressman Sam Farr held a small gathering Oct. 26 at the Santa Cruz Wharf to announce the reception of an $850,000 grant. Donated by the federal Economic Development Administration (EDA), the grant will help provide new opportunities for the Santa Cruz Wharf’s future as well as go toward the Wharf’s continued maintenance.

Among the attendees were Santa Cruz elected officials, wharf business owners and the entire wharf maintenance crew. The event also attracted a small group of public citizens, including community members who were eager to hear about the Municipal Wharf Master Plan.

Both Lane and Farr discussed how the money will support the plan, which according to the EDA, will help “to assist the community in recovering from tsunami damage by helping create a master plan that will guide business development for the city’s municipal wharf to increase the number of visitors to the region and attract more businesses.”

The Santa Cruz Wharf was built in 1914 and is nearing its centennial anniversary. Stretching half a mile and host to various dining and shopping venues, it is currently the longest wharf in California. It has acted as a popular tourist attraction throughout its lifetime and is adjacent to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.

“This is really a special moment in the 100-year history of the wharf,” said current Santa Cruz Mayor Don Lane. “The wharf is a real economic engine … More than two million people a year visit it. It’s also a place that’s beloved in the community. We need to keep it around for another 100 years.”

Lane gave no clear date for the final implementation of the master plan, stating only that it would be a few more years.

Congressman Sam Farr, who represents California’s 17th district, was also there to discuss the accomplishment. Farr recalled early memories of the wharf from his youth in Monterey County.

“When I was a child,” said Farr, “I used to frequent the orthodontist’s office on the wharf. After my appointments, I would wander over to the boardwalk and enjoy the day … There aren’t many wharves that have survived in California. This is a really historic spot, and I think this grant will be able to maintain its legacy.”

Despite being in the early stages of its development, the Municipal Wharf Master Plan will offer the wharf some exciting new changes.

“Maybe the wharf could become a place to generate wave powered energy,” Farr said. “It’s important that we use the money to update and maintain this community so that it can continue to act as one of Santa Cruz’s premier attractions. Hopefully this master plan will be the first in many that will redesign our city and continue to attract visitors.”

Farr also commended Santa Cruz for its ability to accomplish specific goals with its city planning.

“Nowhere else in the country seems to be getting it done,” Farr said. “But [Santa Cruz] is getting it done. Don’t stop asking and don’t stop dreaming. Let’s use Santa Cruz Wharf as an example of these dreams.”