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10-mile relay swim seeks move to La Jolla Shores: Traditional Cove event to relocate due to construction

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La Jolla Cove Swim Club co-chair Tom Hecker (standing) addresses the La Jolla Shores Association board seeking approval to move the Swim from The Cove to The Shores this year (and possibly next).
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

This year’s La Jolla Cove 10-mile relay swim (pending approval from the San Diego Department of Park & Recreation) will be held at La Jolla Shores in an 11th hour move.

Scheduled for 7 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 29, event organizers are looking to relocate the event due to construction underway next to the La Jolla Cove.

Discussed at the Sept. 11 La Jolla Shores Association (LJSA) meeting on the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) campus, the board voted to support relocating this years’ Swim, if the Department of Park & Recreation can comply with noticing and permitting requirements.

La Jolla Cove 10-Mile Relay event co-chair Tom Hecker said the Swim was held at The Cove for the last 18 years, save for 2016, when poor water quality prevented it. That year, the Swim was also moved to La Jolla Shores.

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Hecker explained that organizers applied for a permit to hold the 2019 event at The Cove, but felt “blindsided” by the construction of the new restroom facility at Scripps Park, now underway and scheduled to take 440 working days.

“We weren’t notified that this was going to happen and all of a sudden the fencing went up,” he said, noting the event staging area is now fenced off. “We hope it will only be 440 working days, but that will impact this year and at least one future swim. So we are asking for approval for us to do this swim, this year, at La Jolla Shores beach.”

LJSA chair Janie Emerson said in her communication with the Department of Park & Rec, there was concern about changing the location “at this late juncture” and whether the City could get the associated approvals in time.

She said there were three issues to address 1) whether Park & Rec could even do the required noticing and follow City-regulated event procedures before Sept. 29; 2) whether the board should approve the change for this year on an emergency basis; and 3) discussing the 2020 swim earlier in the year to avoid the last-minute shuffle.

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Hoping to address the first two with one motion, the board voted to approve the 2019 event’s move, if the Department of Park & Rec can meet its noticing requirements, and also issue an approval.

Due to the volume of people coming in from out of the area, Hecker said the date cannot be changed, leaving few other options other than the move.

“The Swim has grown to the point that it draws swimmers from across the country; we have several teams from Dallas,” he said. “It’s timed in the month of September because all the open water solo swimming events happen earlier in the year, and this is an opportunity for them to team up. We see it as a celebration of swimming and community giving.”

Proceeds from the event — in which a team of up to five swimmers complete a 10-mile relay — go to the American Diabetes Association and the Prevent Drowning Foundation of San Diego.

Registration is closed for new teams, but swimmers may add themselves to an existing team. Teams with fewer than five swimmers must complete the full 10 miles. Learn more at lj10milerelay.com

Also at LJSA

Boulders and bollards: Emerson said she communicated with interim director of Park & Recreation Andy Field to find ways to “increase security for the Kellogg Park parking lot” and measures to “keep people from driving on the grass and tearing it up.” The parking lot is locked nightly at 10 p.m. via metal arms across the entrance to the lot, in a recent effort by the City of San Diego. But with the consistent locking of gates, motorists that end up locked inside drive onto the grass to get out of the lot.

Hoping to get the message across that cars should leave by 10 p.m., Emerson suggested a low-level barricade on the north and south side of Kellogg Park, to keep cars from driving onto the grass, thereby trapping the cars in the lot and teaching those who park after 10 p.m. not to do so in the future.

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The board voted to ask the Department of Park & Rec to install boulders along one side of the parking lot and cement bollards similar to what surrounds the lifeguard tower on the other side.

The boulders and bollards would be spaced out to allow for wagons and other carries of beach equipment, and meet ADA requirements, but not wide enough to fit a car. Should the Department of Park & Rec agree to the boulder and bollard installation, the board would explore fundraising options.

Map approved by City: A hearing was held to determine the fate of The Map of the Grand Canyons of La Jolla Educational Plaza (aka The Map) installation at Kellogg Park in La Jolla Shores on Sept. 4, with the City ultimately granting the required permits.

The Map includes small tiles pieced together in a process known as LithoMosaic to create images of the marine life found off the Shores coast as an educational display. It uses different shades of blue to represent the different ocean depths. There will also be a 36-inch open railing around it.

The effort is spearheaded by Mary Coakley-Munk, who told fellow board members: “If we are lucky enough to get it (submitted) without an appeal, we would like to have it installed by the end of the year.”

The original Map was created in 2008 and installed at Kellogg Park with tiny colored beads and bronze fish secured into the ground sealed with Lithocrete. There was no fencing, which allowed uninhibited access. As such, the Lithocrete cracked and the beads began to unearth soon afterward. The Map had to be closed to the public in 2012. The previous Map was removed, and covered in decomposed granite, which remains today.

The hearing was called for after a complaint was filed, arguing the project is not a repair and replacement but actually a completely new project and therefore subject to a Coastal Development Permit. However, a hearing officer determined the project could proceed as planned.

The new Map is being constructed in the SIO’s former, emptied Southwest Science Fisheries building, which is about to undergo its own renovation to become the UC San Diego Marine Conservation Facility. Work on the Marine Conservation Facility is planned to start in November, but would likely not begin until early 2020. However, the facility would need to be vacated by Oct. 31 in case work is ready to proceed in November.

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UCSD start date: Representing UC San Diego, Community Planning liaison Bob Brown said classes start Monday, Sept. 23 and those who traverse the area should expect increases in traffic.

Upcoming safety night: In connection with either the October or November LJSA meeting, a “safety night” will be held at which reps from the police department, fire department, lifeguards and other first-responders will be on site to answer questions.

Scooter moratorium sign-on: Following the lead set by the La Jolla Community Planning Association, the board voted to sign a letter making the rounds asking for a moratorium on dockless scooters.

— La Jolla Shores Association next meets 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 9 at Martin Johnson House on the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, 8840 Biological Grade. lajollashoresassociation.org


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