By Dave Schwab
Phyllis Minick had an epiphany one Sunday this summer strolling along Coast Boulevard by La Jolla’s Children’s Pool: It was up to her to lead the charge to fix the disheveled walkway.
On Saturday, she wants your help at a workshop on beautifying the area that will be held from begin at 8 a.m. with a walk around the area near the lifeguard station and the walkway to the gazebo.
“There were so many people walking with strollers and small children running around that many were forced to walk in the street with cars leaving and trying to park and they couldn’t see people moving out from the cars,” she said in a recent interview. “And I’m looking at all the tables and signs and how distracted people are and how noisy it is and I thought, ‘This is really pathetic.’
Now, three months after her full-court press lobbying and visiting every community group and subgroup in town, she’s organized a gathering that will start with a self-guided tour of the area between the lifeguard station and the gazebo from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. After the tour, participants will gather in the Friendship Room at 939 Coast Blvd. to brainstorm ideas on making the walkway more aesthetic and user-friendly.
Landscape architect Jim Neri, who worked with the city and La Jolla community planners on master planning for the first phase of Coast Boulevard improvements back in 1989, will lead the session.
He said refurbishing the boulevard is part of a “grand vision” for redeveloping La Jolla’s coastline by adding posts, chains, railings, stairs, turnouts and pathways as well as other improvements.
“This piece around the lifeguard station, Children’s Pool and Casa Cove area, is just another phase of implementing that preliminary plan,” he said.
Since Children’s Pool Lifeguard Tower is being replaced, beautification proponents argue now is the appropriate time to make aesthetic changes on the adjacent walkway so they tie in with what’s already along Coast Boulevard. Those improvements include decorative, 5-foot-high columns inlaid with seashells, colorful stones and sparkles lining the sidewalks between the lifeguard station and the Museum of Contemporary Art. The column design is carried over into sidewalks and benches.
Patrick Ahern, president of La Jolla Parks and Beaches Inc., the parent group for the Children’s Pool Committee chaired by Minick, noted the public workshop process has been a proven success.
“People are provided with a questionnaire and told to put down what they see, like and dislike,” he said. “Then they go back and put ideas on a large sheet of paper with colored markers.”
Ahern said it’s surprising how quickly individuals conferring together leads to collaboration in a group.
“Everyone starts out with their own point of view, people begin to compare ideas, then, suddenly during the workshop, a collective idea of the best design just emerges,” he said.
Longtime community planner Joe LaCava will talk about efforts to speed up demolishing the abandoned Children’s Pool Lifeguard Station and replacing it with a new structure.