Spirits were high and joy abounded in La Jolla on Dec. 9, following the unveiling of the renovated Children’s Pool Plaza. Eight years in the making, the Plaza project involved removing some landscaping, replacing and expanding the sidewalk to improve pedestrian flow, and adding sitting walls and bike racks to the area overlooking Children’s Pool at 850 Coast Blvd.
The project has been run under the auspices of La Jolla Parks & Beaches (LJP&B), and funded as a private-public partnership. The most recent estimate put the project pricetag at just under $700,000.
At the afternoon celebration at the site, LJP&B chair Ann Dynes told those gathered: “This has been a precious space in La Jolla since 1931 (when the beach was created by way of a seawall gifted by Ellen Browning Scripps) and it has become a precious space to all of our visitors. Every time you walk along this coastline, you hear dozens of languages being spoken because this is a popular place. Now it has been revamped to accommodate all the visitors we have.”
She then invited project organizer Phyllis Minick to step forward, to cheers and applause.
Dynes said Minick and other LJP&B volunteers worked with various departments within the City, and she recognized San Diego Parks & Recreation assistant director Andy Field, planner Meredith Dawson, engineer Michael Ramirez, shoreline park rangers, district manager Dan Daneri and the office of City Council member Barbara Bry for their efforts and support.
“It took a long time, but we were able to get this project on the right track, and it ended up being a cool partnership between City staff and our volunteers,” she said. “This is a splendid example of what can be accomplished with dedicated volunteers, a non-profit platform for private philanthropy, and the support of City staff. We are all blessed to have each other to work with. We can make a difference here in La Jolla!”
In thanking Minick and Dynes, Bry presented commendations for their efforts.
“What’s wonderful is this is truly a treasure for all of us to enjoy,” Bry said, “and that includes La Jollans, San Diegans, people who visit us from all over the world. I’m very appreciative of Ann and Phyllis for doing all this. I often say that I am relentless, but you two are truly relentless! I admire what you’ve accomplished. What’s wonderful about this community is how many of you get involved to make our Village a better place.”
The project was started in 2010, but faced myriad delays leading up to the long-awaited grand opening.