A pretty good year for Morro Bay

In the annual State of the City report at the Morro Bay Chamber of Commerce installation and awards dinner earlier this month, Mayor Janice Peters found several positives to celebrate even as reflections of 2009 are typically negative, with the city coping with the recession, state cuts to local funding and retail closures.

She noted that federal grants funded harbor channel dredging extending into the back-bay and that the replacement for the earthquake-damaged fire station was completed, as were North Main Street rehabilitation and bikeway improvements. And private grants helped purchase a needed rescue vehicle.

The roundabout and resurfacing of Morro Bay Boulevard were completed, and the desalination plant was upgraded.

Friends and Morro Bay Pups stepped up to complete the Jody Giannini Family Dog Park; Morro Bay Seniors renewed a 20-year lease. When teens braved speaking before the City Council, Citizen of the Year Barry Ross donated significant funds to prevent closure of the teen center.

Peters also noted that Bob’s Big Boy, Pelican Grill, Tokyo Joe’s Sushi and an urgent-care center opened, and that a family-run pharmacy will open soon. The Market Street property is in escrow, and the California Coastal Commission approved a proposed Embarcadero conference center.

“Considering all that, 2009 was a pretty good year for Morro Bay,” Peters said, “and I have every expectation that 2010 will be also.”

But the council can’t do it without collaboration from business, government and citizens working toward a common goal.

A tourism-based economy needs more tourists. Local hoteliers approved a tax intended to generate revenue to promote and advertise Morro Bay.

Proven events such as the Cruisin’ Car Show, Avocado Festival, Harbor Festival and the Fourth of July are magnets for tourist visits.

Three years ago, when the city could no longer afford to waive fees for events, Peters offered a helpful, if not end-all, solution: the Fundraiser Follies. City staff, advisory board members and community “players” croon and shuffle cabaret-style for audience giggles and donations. Proceeds are divided among the 20 eligible local events to offset city fees.

Not all apply, but those who do will be asked to step up and participate. Groups can help plan and work the Follies. Better yet, filling the Community Center both nights by selling tickets is the best way to maximize annual funding.

To that end, Broadway by the Bay is set for Feb. 26 and 27. Gary Ryan, Jill Garcia, Hank Roth, Rouvaishana, Jenny Brantlee, Courtney Pask, Taylor Peters, Caleb Lim, Phil Cisneros and Otis Archie have stepped up.

Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children. Tickets are for sale at City Hall. Will you step up? Call 772-4656.

Reach Judy Salamacha at 801-1422 or jsalamacha@yahoo.com.