La Jolla Parks & Beaches: Replace Windansea belvedere

On Neptune Place near Rosemont St., a pad remains where the shack may have once stood.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

Windansea beach may once again have a belvedere to call its own.

An effort by Windansea-area resident Melinda Merryweather to replace the shade structure torn down in 1982 during an act of vandalism got a vote of approval during the La Jolla Parks & Beaches (LJP&B) meeting Dec. 3 at the Rec Center.

The belvedere (aka gazebo) would be built in the historical style of those that line La Jolla’s coastline. The exact location has not been pinpointed, but it would be in the same area as its predecessor — off Neptune Place near Rosemont Street.

As landscape architect and Friends of Windansea member Jim Neri explained at the LJP&B meeting: “These belvederes are very small, very quaint, very light and have become touchstones to our community. People use them as a destination point to get out of the sun and to see the view. They are also an architectural feature along the coast. We’re looking to rebuild the small Windansea structure, about 6- by 8-feet. We want to rebuild it, in kind, but with ADA-access. It’s really an act of maintenance.”

The new belvedere would be constructed from a historically accurate wood that can withstand ocean-air conditions. It would be funded by Friends of Windansea. A pricetag has not been determined, but Neri estimates it will cost less than $25,000.

The previous belvedere is believed to have been removed by a nearby resident. A short article in La Jolla Light on Oct. 7, 1982 reported the belvedere coming down in “an act of vandalism.” It reads: “Police said it appeared that chains attached to a vehicle were used to haul down the public structure. The shack was popular with beach visitors who could sit inside and enjoy the scenic views. However, some nearby residents say the shack was a nuisance and was troublesome for the neighborhood.”

Jim Neri, landscape architect and Friends of Windansea member, presents plans to replace the belvedere at Windansea Beach during the La Jolla Parks & Beaches meeting Dec. 3 at the Rec Center. Ashley Mackin-Solomon

At the time, the article states, lifeguards said there were plans for replacement, subject to funding availability.

“There were no funds back then to pay for the reconstruction, and there was no Friends of Windansea and no donors stepping forward, so the plans were just left (hanging),” Neri explained. “Now, we have donors who’ve stepped forth and we have the funds to rebuild the belvedere.”

Unconcerned that the new belvedere would suffer the same fate, Merryweather said the resident rumored to have torn the structure down has since moved. Furthermore, she said, she contacted those living in the area, and reportedly has their support.

The only resident in attendance to speak on the subject was Richard Smith, who said a previous attempt to get the belvedere rebuilt was thwarted by neighbors. “The fact that the neighbor in opposition is not here now, makes me think that it’s now a non-issue,” he said.

A motion to have LJP&B endorse the project passed unanimously. A few days later, the La Jolla Community Planning Association ratified the request, and voted to support sending a letter to the California Coastal Commission indicating the intention to rebuild the belvedere.

In other LJP&B news

More Windansea upgrades: LJP&B also endorsed an amendment to the “Design guidelines, erosion control and maintenance plan for Windansea Beach” (so named to get as many different types of donations as possible, Neri joked) to allow Friends of Windansea to construct post-and-chain barriers to encourage pedestrians to walk on designated paths, and thereby deter erosion.

Scripps Park Pavilion update: The Scripps Park Pavilion project groundbreaking has been pushed back by one month, to February 2019. The project entails demolishing the existing restroom facility at Scripps Park and constructing a new facility with unisex toilet stalls (and more toilets than at the current facility), showers, storage space and more.

During construction, there will be 10 portable toilets, two that are ADA-compliant, and no showers. There will be no parking spaces taken up by construction vehicles, as workers will be shuttled in.

Project organizer Judy Adams Halter explained the delay is due to moving two plumbing features from above ground to below ground. The work is guaranteed to be complete in 440 days (18 months) after it begins, she added.

Half Marathon a-go: A motion to support the 38th annual Kiwanis Club of La Jolla Half Marathon passed unanimously. The marathon will be held Sunday, April 28 and maneuvers from Del Mar to La Jolla Cove. There are no changes to the course. Staging will take place the day before, but Scripps Park will remain open to the public, and cleaned up after the event. Learn more at

Path clean-up report: The Fay Avenue Bike Path clean-up effort, which took place Nov. 3-4, was considered a “big success” by those who organized it. LJP&B member Sally Miller said 21 donors raised $3,440 to pay for workers and equipment to maintain the path that runs from Nautilus Street and Mira Monte.

“There were so many families that came out to help ... young and old were there,” she reported. “One family came out because the mother said her two boys use that way to get to school and she wanted to instill in them the importance of volunteerism. Thanks to everyone for their support.”

After the bills were paid and reimbursements distributed, a little over $1,000 is left to fund a future cleanup. Project organizer Debbie Adams said the next step is to clean, on a volunteer basis, the hillside to remove inactive homeless encampments.

— The next Parks & Beaches meeting is Jan. 28 at the Rec Center, 615 Prospect St. A new website is in development, but has not yet gone live. It will henceforth be

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