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Proposed Higher Seawalls May Help Protect Homes In Newport Harbor

BALBOA ISLAND (— Proposed new seawalls in Balboa Island are being discussed to protect low lying homes from high tides and storm water.

The small island in Newport Bay has long had the nickname, "The Bathtub," because of its low profile and seawall that extends around it.

While that tub hasn't sprung a leak, the seawall protecting it is nearly 100 years old.

The proposal for the new seawall would extend it one to three feet higher than its current level to avoid situations where high tide reaches or spills over the brim of the wall.

"I think it's a good idea because the sea level is rising," said resident Kent Herold. "In the winter, when we have a storm, the water will go over the seawall. My particular home is raised, so it's not that much of an issue. But a lot of the homes on the island aren't raised and they have the chance of flooding occurring."

How to cover the costs of the $57 million project hasn't been discussed.

However, options include city funds, grant money, property assessments, or a combination of all those things.

"There are a lot of elderly people here," said resident Carol Minoux. "If they reassessed or have to pay for it, I don't know that they can survive it. It will also impact property values a lot."

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