La Jolla Parks and Beaches committee to partner with Bird Rock Council on overlooks, parks

Public overlooks — from Tourmaline State Beach to La Jolla Farms — will be inventoried and, ideally, improved in the coming years, as part of the budding partnership between La Jolla Parks & Beaches (LJP&B) advisory group and the Bird Rock Community Council (BRCC).

Before the two groups started working together, members of the BRCC Coastal Overlooks Committee were surveying the overlooks in Bird Rock to determine which ones were in need of care. At the same time, LJP&B trustee Melinda Merryweather was looking to do the same thing in The Village and northward. Only when LJP&B chair Ann Dynes spoke at the BRCC meeting last month to seek collaboration on the City of San Diego’s Parks Master Plan did the two groups realize how similar their efforts were.

In introducing this partnership to the broader LJP&B committee, BRCC Coastal Overlook Committee co-chairs Mary Lynn Hyde and Don Schmidt explained their efforts thus far.

“This committee was formed because (in recent years) the City stopped trash pick-up at the overlooks, so our scenic spots started to become a problem. They became more and more neglected. A year ago, we approached BRCC saying we needed to do something to clean them up,” Schmidt said.

Already, he added, “We’ve put together a draft booklet identifying the scenic overlooks, view corridors and public parks, along with the corresponding issues for each location.”

Because she was already doing the same thing, Merryweather collaborated with Hyde to share findings. “We walked from Tourmaline to the end of La Jolla Farms and took pictures of all the overlooks and matched them with old books to see what needs to be done,” Merryweather said.

Upon completion of this inventory, acting LJP&B chair Bill Robbins suggested that the locations be given numbers so they can be formally inventoried going forward, and improve communication between lifeguards and those who call upon them from these locations. “A lot of these places have different names or references, some are formal, some are just known among La Jollans … but with tourists and everyone having a cell phone, someone might call something in and the dispatcher will have no idea where they are — the caller would have to guess or give a cross street.”

A numerical identification system would allow someone calling for help to give a precise, consistent location.

LJP&B trustee John Shannon called it a “tremendous opportunity.”

The inventory project is part of a larger partnership between the two groups that started last month. At the BRCC September meeting, Dynes and volunteer Diane Kane asked for the two groups (along with La Jolla Shores Association) to work together to identify spaces that could be converted to or improved as public recreation spaces, as part of the City’s Parks Master Plan.

The Parks Master Plan is intended to look at how park spaces will be managed in the next 20-30 years. But because La Jolla is largely built out, Kane suggested getting creative with spaces that could be preserved for recreation.

“It’s great that the City is asking for input now, even though the Parks Master Plan is years down the road from being implemented, and it’s perfect timing for us to work together,” Merryweather opined.

Schmidt added: “The committee’s long-term goal is to work with the community and the City to find permanent solutions for maintaining these areas in perpetuity. There has been some committee talk of creating a ‘friends’ group to do some volunteering, but that is not letting the City off the hook. It is their obligation to maintain these public parks.” There is also some discussion of having some of the overlooks and view accesses become dedicated pocket parks.

“We’re all La Jolla and all on the same page,” he said. To provide a more direct connection, there is an effort underway to have a BRCC member join the LJP&B.

In other LJP&B news

Slope Restoration schedule: As part of his report, Mauricio Medina, representing City Council member Barbara Bry, said he hoped to have more information next month on when construction will resume on the Torrey Pines Road Slope restoration project. Bry and local community planning groups have asked that the work be conducted at night to deter traffic backups.

Bike Path donation: Following the formation of the Fay Avenue Bike Path committee last month, LJP&B trustee Sally Miller announced the Kiwanis Club of La Jolla granted the board $1,500 to pay for the next community clean up. The committee would coordinate the right of entry permits needed to clean the path (also known as the Fay Avenue Extension), and use the grant money to pay for cleaning equipment to remove brush and pick up trash. A community clean-up is planned for later this month.

Children’s Pool Plaza: As the Children’s Pool Plaza (formerly known as the Children’s Pool Walk Beautification Project) inches closer to completion, a redesigned plaque to honor donors was approved. At the last meeting, there were critiques that the proposed plaque was too large. The new plans call for a 9-by-12 inch plaque recognizing major donors, placed at an angle against a street-facing boulder about two feet high, alongside the seating wall.

A motion to approve the new plaque design and placement passed unanimously. The project (scheduled to be finished in the coming weeks) will redevelop the pedestrian access above Children’s Pool, and include sitting walls and improved pathways. The area will henceforth be known as Children’s Pool Plaza.

Pavilion Waiver OK: The board voted unanimously to waive the summer construction moratorium so work would proceed during the summer of 2019 on the planned Scripps Park restroom pavilion. The new restroom pavilion will increase the number of single-stall unisex toilets, and feature benches, outdoor showers, ADA-compliant toilets and indoor showers, and storage for beach equipment.

Belvedere Replacement: Although Merryweather sought approval for her plan to replace a belvedere (gazebo) at WindanSea Beach, the vote would have to wait, pending feedback from neighbors. “The gazebo that was there was torn down in the late 1980s or early 1990s, between Kolmar and Palomar streets,” Merryweather explained. “There is no shade anywhere on that street unless you walk down to the WindanSea Shack. Friends of WindanSea would pay most of the cost of replacing it.”

She added that there is still a pad where the belvedere once was, and that people come to the beach and set up spots there with umbrellas. “These belvederes are part of the beauty and charm of La Jolla,” she said, explaining that the design would be exactly the same as the existing ones along the coast. However, some members were worried about the impact on those who live nearby.

A motion to support pursuing the concept passed, with more information needed before voting for something more formal.

— La Jolla Parks & Beaches next meets 4 p.m. Monday, Oct. 22 at the Rec Center, 615 Prospect St. During this meeting, there will be representatives from the City to discuss the Parks Master Plan.

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