La Jolla coast improvement plan has a $2.1 million pricetag and could take 20 years to complete
By Ashley Mackin
The La Jolla Parks and Beaches (LJPB) advisory committee heard updates on two public improvement projects — the Whale View Point shoreline enhancement plan and the Children’s Pool Walk beautification project — during its March 24 meeting. The two projects are similar only in that they both aim to improve public space along the La Jolla shoreline.
Whale View Point
During the meeting, LJPB voted to assume responsibility for implementation of the Whale View Point project via a motion by Rebecca Morales, which stated LJPB would appoint a sub committee to review the plan’s components for feasibility, outline a plan of action, and report back to LJPB within 60 days.
Whale View Point (approximately 0.3 miles long) is bound by 274 Coast Blvd. at the south end, People’s Wall at the north end, the intertidal zone to the west and Coast Boulevard to the east.
Per the design narrative, “The purpose of this plan is ... to restore, maintain and preserve the Whale View Point portion of the Coast Boulevard Park shoreline.” The construction cost estimate is $2.1 million. The project is expected to take 20 years to complete.
The plan is broken down by geographic area, by task level and by cost, so each piece can be completed independently as funds become available. The order in which projects are completed will be up to the subcommittee, which also has the option of fundraising for each component.
The five areas identified as needing improvement include:
1) The Educational Plaza, for which the plan proposes installation of informational signage, plaques and interactive features;
2) The Picnic Ramble, which includes restoration of native vegetation to provide secluded picnicking areas where small groups can barbecue;
3) Whale View Lookout, which requires rehabilitation of the large turf gathering space;
4) The Wedding Lawn, which is not ADA-compliant and which the plan would bring to code;
5) The People’s Wall, which is in need of restoration.
Other minor projects, such as walking surface improvements (paths, trails or sidewalks) and habitat restoration, are also integrated into each of these areas.
Eric Korevaar, secretary for the La Jolla Conservancy, designers of the plan, made the Whale View Point presentation at the meeting. He said the Conservancy “knows it’s a lot of work,” so the group would provide seed money to LJPB, so it would have some funds to start with. The amount has yet to be determined.
Getting the plan to this point has been a focus of the Conservancy for more than seven years, said Conservancy member Anthony Ciani. The process started with community meetings and “La Jollans walking with a notebook making observations and taking notes, sketching their ideas,” he added.
From there, city planners and landscape architects provided feedback on the feasibility of the suggestions, and a report was published explaining the suggestions the city deemed practical.
After the results were reviewed and approved at community advisory groups, the plan (as it reads today) was in development.
Children’s Pool Walk
The $250,000 Children’s Pool Walk beautification project, an unrelated public space improvement plan that would widen the Children’s Pool walkway, add an overlook to the gazebo, build new seating and replace old planters with new ones to cover crumbling walls, is also making headway.
Having obtained most, if not all, the needed funding, the project is under review by the city. Landscape architect Jim Neri said plans have been processed for preliminary assessment by the necessary City of San Diego departments.
“We expect a Public Project Assessment letter back from the city at the end of April that will identify the process we need to go through to obtain approvals,” Neri told
La Jolla Light
, the letter will include a list of comments and feedback.
Neri said he hopes the city will determine that because nothing over three feet high will be built and the project is intended to replace walkways, there won’t be significant changes and the project can be classified as a replacement endeavor.
Should that be the case, the group spearheading the project can begin the permit application process with construction soon afterward. Neri said construction should take four months and would need to begin by Aug. 15 to be finished before the Dec. 15 start of seal-pupping season.
If organizers do not make their deadline, the project would have to become independent of the lifeguard tower construction project currently underway, and would likely cost more and take longer.
In other LJPB news:
■ View to the Sea: The group voted to support member Melinda Merryweather in her draft of a letter to the City of San Diego requesting it remove the tarp and overgrown shrubbery on the diamond-chain fence that blocks the view of the ocean from the west side of Torrey Pines Road between Amalfi Street and Princess Street, aka Charlotte Park. Merryweather reports that segment of the street is a “view corridor,” as defined in the La Jolla Community Plan, and should have an unobstructed view.
■ New Members: After one resignation and one elimination (for lack of attendance), two positions opened on LJPB and were immediately filled by Bill Robbins and Justin Schlaefli.
Want to Know More?
■ Whale View Point Project: WhaleViewPoint.org; to assist the sub-committee or volunteer for a project component, contact Patrick Ahern at AhernGroup@gmail.com
■ Children’s Pool Walk Project:
— La Jolla Parks and Beaches meets 4 p.m. fourth Mondays at the La Jolla Rec Center, 615 Prospect St. Their next meeting is April 28.