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La Jolla Parks & Beaches board to reconvene Parks Master Plan working group

The Scripps Park picnic area
The picnic area in La Jolla’s Scripps Park includes mature trees that the Parks and Recreation Coalition hopes will be preserved.
(File)

The La Jolla Parks & Beaches board will reconvene its Parks Master Plan working group to assess the latest draft of the city of San Diego’s “Parks for All of Us” initiative.

The working group intends to make a recommendation before the plan is heard by the City Council sometime in July.

Parks for All of Us, which San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria launched June 2 as part of an effort “to provide parks and places for recreation where the needs are the greatest,” includes the latest revision of the Parks Master Plan, which is on its fourth draft after being initially presented last year.

The first draft went before the City Council in November as part of the four-part “Complete Communities” initiative. Three of the four parts were approved, but the council asked that the Parks Master Plan be reworked and revisited. Since then, five new council members were elected.

In the months that followed, a group called the Parks and Recreation Coalition, or PARC, recommended changes and reviewed the subsequent drafts.

The 246-page revised draft of Parks for All of Us lists the Parks Master Plan’s investment priorities as improvement and maintenance of existing parks and facilities; neighborhood parks; open space and trails; off-leash dog parks; aquatic facilities; fitness and wellness programs; senior programs; nature and outdoor programs; senior programs; efforts to make parks safe and more active; and acquisition of land for new parks.

“A number of the changes [from previous drafts] relate to climate change and making sure the Parks Master Plan is sustainable over time, protects mature trees, finds additional funding to make sure the plan is properly implemented, and in looking for additional parkland,” said PARC member and La Jolla Community Planning Association President Diane Kane.

She said “the big win” for PARC was rearranging an “untested and confusing” point system so there is more of a commitment to acquiring more parkland.

“That was one of the major sticking points, that this 50-year plan didn’t have any room in it to acquire new land,” Kane said.

In the plan, the city calls for a “recreational value-based standard” that “establishes a point value to represent recreational opportunities within population-based parks.”

The new Parks Master Plan scores a park based on its size (seven points per acre), availability of active and passive activities, accessibility, and “park activation” that creates social connections. The goal is to reach a park standard of 100 points per 1,000 people.

However, PARC still has recommendations for the final draft, such as adding an oversight process, defining “park-deficient communities,” providing a current list of “communities of concern,” improving the language that discusses commercialization in parks, revising the recreational value-based standard and identifying more funding.

An 18-page letter outlining PARC’s recommendations was posted on the Community Planning Association website at lajollacpa.org under “Agendas,” “July 1" and “Materials.”

The most recent plan version is slated to go to various council committees before a full council review and final vote. The next hearing is July 14 at the Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee.

La Jolla Shores Association President Janie Emerson emphasized the importance of all local groups supporting PARC’s efforts to present a united front to the city.

Kane said “there are a lot of us that initially didn’t feel that this plan affected La Jolla to any great extent because we have a lot of parks compared to other communities in the city. And it does appear that the mayor’s focus … will be to backfill the need in other communities that do not have as much parkland as we do. But if [residents of other communities] don’t have the parkland and we do, they are going to come here to use our parks. We are getting a lot of visitors, so it behooves all of us to support park equity citywide in order to make sure the parks are spread out, to make sure everyone has access to them and they all look their best.”

A motion to reconvene the working group passed La Jolla Parks & Beaches unanimously June 28. The issue also will be discussed at LJCPA’s meeting Thursday, July 1, which begins at 6 p.m. online. ◆