Hats off to Kellogg Park's 'friends'

Last week, Jim Heaton of the La Jolla Shores Association asked for helping "building childhood memories" by pitching in on replacing the playground equipment at Kellogg Park.

But the project was about more than that. It was about community building at its best.

When all was said and done Friday afternoon, more than 150 local residents and business people came together to not just raise the money to get something done; they gave their labor and support to a project that might have eventually been done by the city.

They saved about $23,000 in the process and completed their work in two days instead of the planned three.

While the park won't be ready for prime time until late June because of a couple of technical glitches, it's a lot closer than it would have been without the efforts of the Friends of La Jolla Shores and the Shores Association.

But it was the faces behind those groups who pulled out all the stops to make it happen.

Mary Coakley, who has earned more than one award for her efforts on getting The Map built - including one from the Southern California Concrete Producers that she picked up last week as work was beginning at the Shores - once again led the charge.

She had a lot of help from Tory Gulley and Greg Salmon, who co-chaired the committee, and committee members Heaton, John Metzger, Sharon Luscomb, Audrey Keane, Pat Nissan and Susan Wiczynski (whose company Dove Professional Apparel supplied T-shirts for the volunteers).

A huge nod also goes to Mike Eisert of Coast Recreation/Landscape Structures, which designed and created the fun equipment that a lot of the adults want to play on, too, and Jack Striegel of T. D. Grogan, the contractor who headed up the work last week.

Word has it that Ron Gemmill of R&E Grading worked miracles to get the site ready for the volunteers, joining forces with Mike Vasil of RMV Construction, the city's contractor.

Help came, too, from Shores lifeguards, UCSD soccer players, coach Jon Pascale and La Jolla's Finest Training.

We don't usually single out all the individual contributors, but the power of all the resources that came together deserves attention.

The list goes on, from the equipment provided by La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club and Meanley & Son Ace Hardware, to the businesses that fed the hungry workers - Wahoo's Fish Tacos, Whale Tails Tortilla Chips, Torrey Pines Starbucks, Bruegger's Bagels, the Cheese Shop and the Viejas Band of the Kumeyaay Nation.

And we can't forget those who donated to the raffle: Hike Bike Kayak Sports, the Beach & Tennis Club, La Jolla Kayak, Menehune Surf, OEX Scuba and Kayak Shop, Piatti's and Surf Diva.

Now, let's just think about what could happen in La Jolla if we could use this small example of building a community park as a model to make our community a better place. It's happened before--look at the changes in Bird Rock.

Let's think big next time.

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