Banning Museum Transportation Exhibit and YMCA Aquatics Center to Be Funded by Port of Los Angeles’s Community Aesthetic Mitigation Program

WILMINGTON, Calif. — February 22, 2008 — The Los Angeles Harbor Commission has approved $3.6 million for two community projects in Wilmington – a historical maritime transportation exhibit at the Banning Museum and an aquatics center at the Wilmington YMCA that will include a new swimming pool. The two projects were recommended by the Port Community Advisory Committee and will be funded under the Port’s Community Aesthetic Mitigation Program.

“These two projects are great examples of the Port’s commitment to creating development that enriches the culture and quality of life in surrounding communities,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Geraldine Knatz, Ph.D.

The transportation exhibit, initially proposed by the Friends of Banning Museum, will be a permanent exhibition spotlighting the transportation history of the Los Angeles harbor from 1850 to 1915. Housed inside the Banning Residence Museum – a national, state and local historical landmark – the $900,000 exhibit will trace the development of harbor transportation systems through the Spanish and Mexican era, the early American era, the era of railroad development and beyond. To create the exhibit, 3,000 square feet of existing photo gallery and retail shop space will be converted into a state-of-the-art exhibition hall and visitors’ center.

The museum is named after Phineas Banning, known as the “Father of Los Angeles Harbor.” His great- granddaughter, Nancy Banning Call, was on hand for the commission’s vote Thursday evening, and afterward said she was grateful that funding for the exhibit was approved. She added that the Friends of Banning Museum is working to raise an additional $1 million to expand the exhibit.

“We feel that the Port of Los Angeles will be understood far better by this exhibition on the creation of the Port,” Call said. “It’s the only deep-water port in the world that has been developed from a muddy tide flat, and it’s an example of man’s creative spirit and courage and determination to move forward.”

The $2.7 million YMCA Aquatics Center will consist of a new swimming pool, changing and shower facilities, and related programs that promote healthy activity and teach water safety as well as water-related job skills. All members of the public are eligible to participate in YMCA programs without regard to membership, place of residence or ability to pay.

The Community Aesthetic Mitigation Program was established in 2003 as part of the China Shipping settlement agreement between the city of Los Angeles and the National Resources Defense Council, with the goal of developing and funding aesthetic mitigation projects in Wilmington and San Pedro. Last year the Port set aside $8.3 million in program funds for two other projects: $3.1 million for a Wilmington Youth Sailing Center and $5.2 million for a beautification project on North Gaffey Street in Northwest San Pedro.

The Port of Los Angeles, also known as “America’s Port,” has a strong commitment to developing innovative strategic and sustainable operations that benefit the economy and the quality of life for the region and the nation it serves. A recipient of numerous environmental awards, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's 2007 Clean Air Excellence Award, the Port of Los Angeles is committed to innovating cleaner, greener ways of doing business. As the leading seaport in North America in terms of shipping container volume and cargo value, the Port generates 919,000 regional jobs and $39.1 billion in annual wages and tax revenues. A proprietary department of the City of Los Angeles, the Port is self-supporting and does not receive taxpayer dollars. The Port of Los Angeles - A cleaner port. A brighter future.