The Navy brought Marvin Heinze to Coronado where he bought his first home in the Coronado Cays in 1989, when all the houses there weren’t even built. He remembers when he and his neighbors used to take their dogs to the area that is now the Dog Park, when it was just piles of construction dirt. When construction was completed and the area was leveled, the dogs continued to go their usual spot, and the homeowners led a campaign to designate the area as an off-leash dog park. “It was created by accident, because the dogs knew where they were supposed to go,” he chuckles.
He recalls the first time he drove into the Cays in his Navy uniform and was greeted at the gate. Many people remember Audley Knights who was the jovial Cays greeter for close to 30 years. He notes that the Cays demographic has evolved through the years, with many older residents in the 1990s, and now there are lots of families with kids, with some multi-generational. He remembers when Loews Coronado Bay Resort was built and said even though there was opposition at the time, the hotel has been a good neighbor.
A 25-year retired Navy Captain, Heinze has long been involved in service organizations in the community including Chairman of the Planning Commission, on the Board of Directors of the Coronado Cays HOA and the Coronado Historical Association, Rotary, and many others. “It’s important to be involved. We can’t stop growth, so it’s up to us to shape the city and keep what we want,” highlights Heinze, as he talks about his tenure on the city council and what’s next in his life’s journey.
What was the most meaningful part of being a Councilmember?
Being a councilmember was a natural progression in wanting to help my community, stemming back to my Boys Scout days, and then continuing during my military service. I appreciated learning about the intricacies of how the city works, from the infrastructure to budget issues and how money was managed. Then with this knowledge, contributing to shape the future with necessary changes to keep our city at its best was a highlight. I also enjoyed helping people understand how their community works.
My duties, both on the League of California Cities and the National League of Cities helped me learn what other towns are doing and how to help Coronado with issues like the mandated Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) allocation.
Is there any project or initiative that you did not accomplish that you wished you had?
Municipal government is about public safety and infrastructure, and I believe we do a good job with safety, but I strongly believe that the underground infrastructure needs continued attention, and we have started that process with the Parker Pump Station project.
I would also advocate for undergrounding the last mile of utilities on the strand and look for federal funding. Roadway relinquishment is another project that needs to move forward, to gain more local control. With water being a commodity in the 21st Century, the water reclamation plant is vital to protecting our parks and golf course; because at some point the state will require water mandates and we need to be ready.
Are there any city-related things you will pursue in a different role after you leave City Council?
I’m on the board for the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) and the Pacific Council of the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) and hope to devote more time to those. I am also involved in a variety of organizations in town.
Can you name the biggest challenges the city is facing currently and in the future?
The most existential threat is the mandated RHNA numbers. The city must work towards a path to resolution. There needs to be legislation which allows exemptions for cities that have no way to fully comply.
What do your future plans include?
I am enjoying some down time, but I will continue to work with the non-profit organizations in town. I also plan to get back on track with my bucket list of visiting all of the 423 National Park Services Units, which include parks, monuments, preserves, battlefields, trails, seashores, and a myriad of other sites. I plan to add two by visiting the Aniakchak National Monument and Alagnak Wild River in Alaska in August, so I can include those with my more than 300 visited National Park Unit locations.