La Jolla Recreation board spends $16K in City money: Approves shade structure, weight room equipment purchases for Rec Center

It took La Jolla Park & Recreation, Inc. members around 40 minutes to spend more than $16,000 on items for the La Jolla Rec Center during its Dec. 13 special meeting — most notably on a shade structure. The expediency comes from a City Attorney opinion that would allow the City to acquire any funds in Rec Council coffers that are deemed to be from permit, rental or class fees as of Jan. 1, 2018. (See related story here)

Last month, the board determined there was $16,425 the City would likely claim (dubbed “the City’s money” by board members), and opted to spend it before they could do that. All money that was donated or granted was transferred to a savings account associated with La Jolla Park & Recreation, Inc. as a 501(c)3 nonprofit and will not be available to the City.

The board approved the purchase, with “the City’s money” of the following items: an elliptical machine for the weight room, new basketballs and footballs, two small and two small fold-up canopies, two new sets of inflatable rubber balls for general use, youth basketball activities such as referees, and an upright bike for the weight room. These expenditures totaled nearly $6,000.

Trustee Jill Peters noted: “We are not spending down just to spend. We are very careful with what we spend money on and we have been in need of these things for a long time and we’ve been saving the money.”

Board president Mary Coakley-Munk added: “We are looking at what we have needed for a long time.”

The last item to be approved is a shade structure system. However, it has a pricetag of $21,200 (plus the cost of permits), so the board decided to expend the remaining “City funds” (approximately $10,000) and supplement the balance from its 501(c)3 account.

Researched by board member Alexis McCandless, the project calls for three shade structures, two near the play structure parallel to Draper Avenue and another over the other play structure.

“I was just talking to a mom today who said she avoids the Rec Center when it’s really sunny because it’s just too hot,” McCandless said. “Covering all the play structures is not feasible because the playground is just too big … but there are some over which we can provide shade. The first area is over the swings and over the tables, they are going to be attached from the swing set to the fence.” They would be positioned at an angle to avoid leaf collection.

La Jolla Park & Recreation area manager Tyler Canales noted he would need to do some investigating to make sure all the proposed locations are possible. In the meantime, the board voted unanimously to fund the shade structure.

The board also voted to pay to paint games boards for chess/checkers onto the cement picnic tables from their 501(c)3 account. The work would be likely done by area scout troops and not cost anything. Once complete, the board would look at the purchasing of chess/checkers pieces.

Wish List

There are also items the board is considering for the future, which they would purchase from their 501(c)3 funds, but are not considered “urgent” and would be addressed in the future. Many of these purchases were brought up at the November meeting and include: microphones for community use, equipment for Pickleball and Futsal, and outdoor ping pong tables with features such as cement fence that cannot be destroyed (due to heavy use of indoor ping pong tables).

Further, the installation of WiFi was discussed last month, but Canales said it is subject to approval by the City’s IT department. “In the past they shot it down because the cost was too great, but if you will be paying for it, that might change things,” he said.

At the conclusion of the discussion, Coakley-Munk said, “I think we accomplished more tonight than we have in a year.”

In other LJP&R news:

Holiday Fest success: Trustee Gail Forbes reported the Holiday Festival that took place at the Rec Center as part of the 60th annual La Jolla Christmas Parade, Dec. 3 was a success, with 600 people in attendance. As such, she was given kudos for her volunteerism by fellow board member Carolyn Parrish. “Every year, Gail has it down; she doesn’t even need notes. She gets it all done. So, thank you,” Parrish said.

Parking garage progress: La Jolla contractor Tom Grunow updated the board about a proposed project to install an underground parking garage under the Rec Center. “I continue to have meetings on this and everything seems to be moving along positively. … No money is needed right now, but maybe in six months, we’ll start looking at permits. With that, I’m looking at getting a group of architects together who could contribute to this idea,” he said.

La Jolla Park & Recreation, Inc. next meets 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 24 at La Jolla Rec Center, 615 Prospect St. reviveljrc.org

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