La Jolla Recreation Center bocce and reopening getting closer

The playgrounds and other outdoor areas at the La Jolla Recreation Center are open to the public.
The playgrounds and other outdoor areas at the La Jolla Recreation Center are open to the public, while the center’s indoor areas and equipment checkout remain closed.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

The city of San Diego has put in play the La Jolla Community Recreation Group’s plan for a temporary bocce court on the La Jolla Recreation Center grounds along the Draper Avenue sidewalk.

The CRG, the Rec Center’s advisory board, which has pursued the bocce court since 2017, heard at its April 28 meeting that the court has been approved for a right-of-entry permit to allow non-city employees to build it.

Rosalia Castruita, the San Diego Parks & Recreation Department’s area manager, said the project now goes to the city attorney’s office, and once it signs off, Castruita will meet with CRG Chairwoman Mary Coakley Munk and Grunow Construction to discuss beginning building the court.

“We can almost smell it,” Castruita said, though she was unable to give a date.

Construction is estimated to take three to four weeks, Coakley Munk said.

If the court proves popular, a more permanent one would be incorporated in the planned Rec Center renovation.

Rec Center reopening ‘coming very soon’

Castruita said La Jolla’s Rec Center would be the first in her area to reopen indoors from coronavirus-related closure. “All the [Parks & Recreation] supervisors are meeting on a weekly basis to discuss logistics on providing distancing markers, thermometers and staffing,” as well as “how to do programming.”

No reopening date is available, she said, but “it is coming very soon.”

Once the center reopens, hours of operation will be modified, with fewer staff members, she said.

“We’re still moving forward to provide every community as much as we can,” Castruita said.

Rec Center Director Jesse DeLille said he continues to plan to offer two sports programs outdoors with health and safety protocols. One will be the peewee sports class for children ages 4-6; the other will be a sports fundamentals class for ages 7-9.

He said the center also will continue to run virtual arts and crafts classes and seasonal events like the spring bunny visit and a free online Cinco de Mayo craft class coming at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 5, aimed at children 5-12 (register at with code 89950).

Further reopening of the Rec Center will be “very much a phased approach,” DeLille said, with ping pong and the weight room open first by reservation only.

“We’re looking very much forward to the Rec Center opening shortly,” Coakley Munk said. She has “received several phone calls from people who would very much like to see more availability for pickleball at the Rec Center,” she added.

Currently, the pickleball courts are open for play, though players must bring their own nets and gear, as the Rec Center remains closed for equipment checkout.

After almost three years of trying, the La Jolla Recreation Center is now in the ranks of places in San Diego with a spot for what’s often considered the fastest-growing sport in the nation — pickleball.

Pickleball players “are thoroughly enjoying the courts that are there,” Coakley Munk said. “They’ve already formed leagues,” though she said that can cause others to be unable to find a spot to play.

The Rec Center’s basketball courts, playgrounds and field also are open for public use.

CRG member Alan Dulgeroff said now that more people are using the Rec Center outdoors, “shade continues to be a high priority for all of us that use the park.” He asked about options to add shade on the grounds.

DeLille said there are six tables that hold umbrellas but noted that the umbrellas “might be in the same category as equipment that we’re just not checking out right now. We’ve got to hold off on that for now.”

He said he hopes pandemic-related restrictions will lift soon to allow Rec Center staff to put umbrellas out “before it gets really hot.” He said will talk with Castruita about adding more umbrellas.

Coakley Munk said the group has researched shade options beyond umbrellas but “the cost and the logistics of it are pretty difficult.”

CRG adds new board members

The group voted unanimously to approve Jon and Karen Wiggins as board members. Both wrote to the board asking to become members; CRG can have up to 15 board members and had nine when the Wigginses expressed interest in joining.

Karen Wiggins said she is most excited to become involved in CRG’s plans to renovate the Rec Center.

The La Jolla Community Recreation Group next meets at 5 p.m. Wednesday, May 26. For more information, call (858) 552-1658. ◆