New Scripps Park Pavilion: La Jolla Parks & Beaches to field Scripps Park restroom replacement

Behind fences and tarps, demolition has begun on Scripps Park restrooms, to be replaced with updated facilities.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

For the next year-and-a-half, those looking for regular updates on the Scripps Park restroom replacement project can turn to the La Jolla Parks & Beaches (LJP&B) advisory group meetings. At the Oct. 28 gathering at the Rec Center, City staff committed to providing monthly written updates, and occasional in-person visits to answer questions.

Demolition is already underway on the 50-year-old facility, and the new facility will have more single-stall unisex toilets, and a men and women’s toilet room. The facility will also feature benches, outdoor showers, ADA-compliant toilets and indoor showers, and storage for beach equipment. The facility as a whole is two buildings with a breezeway in between. One building houses the unisex stalls and the other houses indoor showers and single-sex restrooms and changing rooms, surrounded by exterior features.

The project is expected to be complete in summer 2021.

Senior project manager Elizabeth Schroth-Nichols said at the Oct. 28 meeting: “We have not any delays yet, there might be inclement weather, but we have not had that yet. Nor have we had a reason to extend the contract. You might not have seen (crews) on site, but we are working on items and ordering parts to install.”

Vic Salazar of Vic Salazar Communications has been contracted to liaise between the City and the public on the project, and committed to monthly reports to the board going forward.

By providing monthly updates: “We can tell you where we were the last month and where we expect to be in the next month,” Schroth-Nichols added. “That is what’s fair to our contractors and to you as the public.”

LJP&B trustee John Shannon said he is often asked what is happening at that location, and questioned whether the City could post milestones or schedules on site.

“It’s not just the locals and swimmers who are curious, people from every country on the planet walk through there, and the impression we give people is that we don’t have our act together,” he said. “Not just with the status of this project, but the fact that it sat decrepit for so long. It’s hard to see what’s going on, but if there was a progress bar to show what was happening, it would go a long way.”

Salazar responded: “One of the hazards of putting up a timeline is that people hold you to that, not realizing there are other issues that go into place. Monthly updates are going to be perfect.”

The pavilion plan was introduced in January 2014 to be funded as a public-private partnership; and in November 2014, the San Diego Regional Park Improvement Fund committee voted to fund the entire construction process. The project pricetag is $5.2 million — $3.2 million of which will cover construction costs, the remaining $2 million to design contingency and environmental permitting.

For the last five years, LJP&B hosted forums on design changes and as features were finalized.

Also at LJP&B ...

Mauricio moving on: City Council member Barbara Bry’s La Jolla field rep Mauricio Medina announced he had been promoted to budget committee consultant and would no longer serve in his current role. Taking his place at local meetings is veteran staffer Steve Hadley.

“You are getting a council representative with 18 years with the City, who taught me everything I know, so I’m excited he will be replacing me and coming to these meetings starting next month,” Medina said.

However, he assured the board the two would continue to communicate on La Jolla issues so nothing falls through the cracks.

In brief introductory remarks, Hadley said: “My thought is that community groups are the voice of the community, and everything needs to come and be worked through the recognized bodies. That’s what I insist on.” Hadley can be reached at:

Scripps Park working group: With little discussion or elaboration, the board voted to approve the formation of a working group to improve the picnic area at Scripps Park.

Following the meeting, trustee Judy Adams Halter told the Light: “We will have a small working group to create an approximately $15,000 improvement to La Jolla Cove/Scripps Park. We are speaking to three different landscape architects at this point. We’d like to have this project completed by September 2020.”

Plans include re-landscaping select areas of the park; replacing the irrigation system where need; renovating belvederes as needed; and improving safety by way of new lighting, ADA-accessible pathways and railings.

Hanan Report revival: It has been more than two years since the release of the City’s Marine Coastal Management Plan, intended to “provide guidance for the City to manage seals and sea lions and also various sea birds roosting and nesting in the La Jolla area,” and certain LJP&B members think it might be time to blow the dust off and review it.

The board would like to see additional measures taken to manage the sea lion population at The Cove.

Also known as “The Hanan Report,” the 91-page document was authored by Hanan & Associates and released in May 2017. Within it, there are suggested methods for mitigating the sea lion population at The Cove.

“The City picked the most inexpensive items for abatement – educational signage and a kiosk staffed with volunteers – which we now know don’t work,” opined LJP&B trustee Mary Ellen Morgan.

“So we need to go back to them and suggest alternatives.”

A working group formed to re-review the document, select a recommendation from the report, and write a letter to the City indicating what course of action they would like to see.

Windansea belvedere: LJP&B trustee Melinda Merryweather announced she was in the process of obtaining permits to reconstruct a gazebo at Windansea, similar to one that was torn down in the 1980s. Funding would come from Friends of Windansea.

The exact location has not been pinpointed, but it would be in the same area as its predecessor — off Neptune Place near Rosemont Street.

Landscape architect and Friends of Windansea member Jim Neri explained at a previous 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 feet by 8 feet.”

The previous belvedere is believed to have been removed by a nearby resident. An 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.”

— La Jolla Parks and Beaches next meets — in a combined November/December meeting — 4 p.m. Monday, Dec. 9 at the Rec Center, 615 Prospect St.