La Jolla’s WindanSea S-Curve project resumes with $25,000 donation

Christmas came early for the Friends of WindanSea and its S-Curve project, when La Jolla resident Tom Morgan donated $25,000 to complete the stalled project, it was announced at the Dec. 7 La Jolla Parks & Beaches (LJP&B) advisory group meeting. There has been little activity with this project since 2013.

Set to resume in mid-January, work on the final phase of the WinsanSea S-Curve project – the stretch of sidewalk that curves around 201 Bonaire St. and extends along Neptune Place leading to the beach access stairway – will take about one month, said landscape architect Jim Neri, who was not present at the meeting.

Other phases of the project led to the installation of donor benches along the bluff top, replacement of old (and installation of new) beach access stairs at certain streets, and reconstruction of the WindanSea parking lot. The final phase would replace the posts and chains that line Neptune Place and fill in the gaps where the sidewalk does not connect to the bluff area.

Delays thus far have included additional city requirements and raising the money needed to cover the costs associated with them. As previously reported in La Jolla Light, the final phase of the S-Curve project was also classified as a “replacement” project and will not require an Environmental Impact Report or Coastal Development Permit, but must go through the Department of Engineering. As such, the ultimate cost for the project was more than what had been privately raised for it.

At a previous LJP&B meeting, chair Dan Allen said, “This is one of those projects where we thought we had enough money based on estimates from a contractor, but we got whacked with the requirement that we go through an engineering review (at an additional cost). It has got us in this cranky position of having generous donors, who we praise and thank, and having to go back to them and say ‘the city needs more.’ ”

Additionally, Neri said, it is challenging to get a project like this one, which uses private funds to improve public land, approved quickly because the city does not see them that often, and the protocol is different.

Nevertheless, beach access activist Melinda Merryweather raised the additional funds by reaching out to Morgan, who lives near WindanSea, who donated the $25,000. Morgan also gave $250,000 to the Children’s Pool Walk project in 2014.

In other LJP&B news:

Bylaws to be revised: At the January meeting, the board will vote on proposed revisions to its bylaws. Discussed at length during the December meeting, the revisions will address membership term limits, subcommittees, committee communication with the public, officers’ duties, definition of purpose and more. In a ballot-type layout, Allen said, the voting members would be presented with a list of bylaw revisions, with a box to check yes or no, that will be collected and processed.

The suggested revisions came from a sub-committee that formed in October 2013. Although suggested changes were presented soon after, they were not voted upon. An additional set of changes was added to that list in November 2015. A special meeting to further discuss the revisions was set for 4:30 p.m. Jan. 4 at La Jolla Rec Center.

• Plaque placement? LJP&B members, led by Ken Hunrichs, is investigating the best place for a plaque that identifies the seawall that created the Children’s Pool as a gift from La Jolla benefactress Ellen Browning Scripps.

With construction of the Children’s Pool lifeguard tower, and the planned Children’s Pool Walk project, the plaque was removed and stored away. It reads: “The Children’s Pool, Given June 1, 1931 by Ellen Browning Scripps.” A challenge for the board is where to place the plaque so it clearly suggests it is the seawall that established Children’s Pool as the gift. Hunrichs said should it be placed near the lifeguard tower (for example), people might think the lifeguard tower was the gift. The board did not take action and decided to explore the area for a viable location.

La Jolla Half Marathon OK’d: Plans for the 2016 La Jolla Half Marathon and La Jolla Shores 5K — set for April 24 in Scripps Park — were approved at the meeting. Applauding event organizers, particularly Kiwanis Club of La Jolla, members said they appreciated that a portion of Scripps Park was left open to the public and the event is well managed. 100 percent of net proceeds benefit youth, senior and community programs of La Jolla Kiwanis Foundation.

Changes to meetings in 2016: LJP&B voted to change its meeting time from 4 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. to better accommodate those who work during the day, and hopefully, increase attendance. The group will still meet at La Jolla Rec Center, 615 Prospect St. on fourth Mondays.