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Pismo Beach talks downtown improvements — but no Ferris wheel yet

A bird’s-eye rendering of the strategic plan approved in 2014 envisions a large plaza, complete with a Ferris wheel, taking the spot of the parking lot at the foot of the Pismo Beach Pier. While Pismo is making improvements downtown, this concept still remains a ways off.
A bird’s-eye rendering of the strategic plan approved in 2014 envisions a large plaza, complete with a Ferris wheel, taking the spot of the parking lot at the foot of the Pismo Beach Pier. While Pismo is making improvements downtown, this concept still remains a ways off.

Pismo Beach is continuing its push to make the downtown area a “living room” for the community, including a redesign of Price Street that will help transform it into a “Restaurant Row.”

In 2014, the city approved a conceptual plan for its downtown area that would, among other things, upgrade Price Street and make the rest of downtown more of a destination for both tourists and residents, with a bigger pier plaza, new bathrooms and even a Ferris wheel.

Since then, the city has taken steps toward realizing much of its 2014 vision, including picking a final design for the Price Street Streetscape project Tuesday. That redesign will call for installing new light standards that can support banners and patterned crosswalks.

One of the most controversial parts of its 2014 vision — a Ferris wheel — isn’t going to come rolling in any time soon, however, City Manager Jim Lewis said.

“That concept was really to make people dream big and show how we could make that area a living room for the entire community,” he said. “There are a few things that would have to be taken care of before (a Ferris wheel) can happen. It’s a long ways off.”

He said adding a downtown Ferris wheel would have to wait until some parking concerns in the area could be addressed, especially considering that plans to add a giant ride would likely require the loss of the existing parking lot off Pomeroy Avenue. (That lot acts as the main parking place for most of the beach and downtown shopping area).

Lewis noted some of the other major changes to the downtown stemming from the conceptual plan are also in the works: the pier is currently closed for its massive $8.7 million rehabilitation; the City Council is in the midst of deciding how it wants to improve the pier plaza and redo the public restrooms; and the two new hotels in the area — both of which were still months from approval back in 2014 — are getting closer to completion.

“This plan is actually driving a lot of what we are doing now,” he said. “It’s a time of transformation for Pismo.”

Kaytlyn Leslie: 805-781-7928, @kaytyleslie

The Pismo Beach Pier is undergoing a massive $8.7 million makeover to renovate the aging structure. The pier was closed in March 2017.

Enjoy the backroad views along Price Canyon Road in this timelapse drive from San Luis Obispo to Pismo Beach. Ride along from downtown San Luis Obispo on Broad Street all the way to the Pismo waterfront.

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