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New campground near Laguna Beach halted

February 17, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
The budget standoff in Sacramento has put the brakes on construction projects around the state, and work on a new campground at Crystal Cove State Park near Laguna Beach is at a standstill. What's ahead for this troubled project?Across from the ocean, work on the El Moro Campground has stopped. A victim of the budget crisis, construction was suspended three weeks ago.

"Frustrating also to people who used to live here," said Ken Kramer from California State Parks.

Nearly three years ago, people were forced to leave El Moro Village -- an emotional time for some whose families had lived there for decades.

"It was a long, difficult battle and we were finally successful in the bond passing that was going to pay for all of this," said Pam Strayer from Laguna Greenbelt.

The state - which owns the land - began transforming the space. Nearly 300 mobile homes were removed. The beach was left to go back to its natural state as officials planned to create a space for everyone.

The project is supposed to include 60 campsites and spaces for 200 vehicles to park. But the $12 million state-funded project is now on hold with less than half the work complete.

The opening date of 2010 is now uncertain.

"It's just too early to tell," said Strayer. "We don't have enough information or timeline on when we would open."

Officials say the campground and parking could bring in one million dollars a year once it's finished. But for now, like hundreds of other parks projects, they must wait. The space that was meant for everyone to share sits vacant behind fences.


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