La Jolla Rec Board hears project ‘updates’

Frustrated over the state of stagnancy surrounding many of its projects, members of the La Jolla Recreation Advisory Group (LJRAG), formerly La Jolla Park & Recreation, Inc., used its Oct. 24 meeting at the Rec Center to report on a meeting with director of San Diego Park & Recreation Andy Fields that took place earlier this month.

With a recent change in City structure, there are now two boards that oversee the La Jolla Rec Center — LJRAG, which serves as an advisory group to the City, and the La Jolla Park & Rec non-profit board that manages donations. For some projects, the responsibility will fall to LJRAG, others will be handled by the non-profit board.

The Leaning Tree: LJRAG chair Mary Coakley Munk reported that a City arborist acknowledged that the tree fronting the Rec Center is leaning, but is “safe and does not represent a risk.” Furthermore, she told the board: “The only way the City will deal with it is if it’s deemed a risk. The arborist did, however, give us the option — as a 501(c)3 — to use our own funds to realign or replace the tree. That’s something we need to discuss.”

However, trustee Jan Harris opined: “It would be very hard to realign something leaning that far over,” implying the tree needs to be replaced. The tree was installed as part of La Jolla Rec Center’s centennial celebration in 2015.

WiFi: LJRAG’s effort to get WiFi installed at the Rec Center cleared one hurdle, but there is still no timeline. The City’s IT department has OK’d the right-of-entry permit associated with the installation, but it must be approved by other departments before proceeding.

Park & Rec area manager Rosalia Castruita said the City is waiting for documentation from the installer, and she did “not have a time frame.” The City is in the process of installing WiFi at several other community rec centers.

Special Events: At the last meeting, LJRAG agreed to fund the remaining special events for the year, accepting whatever funding would be available from the City, with the 501(c)3 non-profit board providing the rest. However, the board has since learned the events will be funded entirely by the City, including the Halloween Carnival (which took place Oct. 27); Fall Activity Week, Nov. 19-21; Senior Dance, Nov. 16; and Lunch with Santa, Dec. 15. La Jolla Rec Center director Nicole Otjens said the final details are being worked out. Castruita said the City found funding to cover these special events.

Basketball Courts: A permit has been filed to resurface the basketball courts, but a date when the work will begin has not been scheduled. The City’s interim solution to repair the courts’ deep cracks has been to fill them in with cold patch, which some LJRAG members argue has made the situation worse.

However, the City is reportedly concerned about the large eucalyptus tree in the back of the play area, which has roots that are damaging the asphalt, and is considering pruning the roots if that doesn’t damage the tree. When the courts are resurfaced, lines will be painted on them so games such as pickleball and futsal could also be played.

Bocce Ball: LJRAG has filed for a right-of-entry permit to install the bocce ball courts that were approved a year ago at the request of residents who travel to Little Italy to play the game. It is not known when the City will approve the permit and green-light the installation.

The bocce court would be cut into the grass along the front of the Rec Center, and equipment would be available for check out from the office.

Delays thus far have included historical review, and the departure of the former area manager who was shepherding the project through City channels.

Visioning Committee: The LJRAG Visioning Committee (charged with handling the playground renovation project) has been meeting with other institutions to see what features or amenities could be implemented at La Jolla’s Rec Center. The Visioning Committee members intend to have a recommendation at the next meeting. The playground renovation was announced in late 2016, but there has been no progress since.

— La Jolla Rec Advisory Group next meets 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 28 at the Rec Center, 615 Prospect St. reviveljrc.org

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