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News on Cuvier Street vacation may give crucial lift to La Jolla Recreation Center renovation plans

A preliminary brochure design shows the proposed La Jolla Recreation Center renovation.
(Courtesy of Trace Wilson)

A requested vacation of part of Cuvier Street — considered a critical step in the planned renovation of the La Jolla Recreation Center — will return to the La Jolla Community Planning Association for possible approval soon, local architect Trace Wilson told the La Jolla Community Recreation Group, the Rec Center’s advisory board, during its meeting last week.

Under the proposed vacation, the city of San Diego would relinquish part of its right of way on Cuvier Street to the adjacent Rec Center and The Bishop’s School.

The vacation of Cuvier, which also would involve a lot-line adjustment to split the land widthwise instead of down the middle of the street, has been approved by several community groups but was held up at LJCPA in July as questions arose about who actually owns the land.

Wilson said he heard before the Sept. 22 CRG meeting from San Diego Parks & Recreation Department Director Andy Field that “the underlying land of Cuvier is not dedicated parkland,” which means the vacation of the street can proceed, giving the Rec Center the frontage along Prospect Street — about 11,106 square feet — with the south portion, 8,061 square feet, going to Bishop’s.

“We will be clear to go back to the CPA and ask for approval and move forward,” Wilson said.

Steve Hadley, representing San Diego City Councilman Joe LaCava, whose District 1 includes La Jolla, said the request for vacation and accompanying requests for the lot-line adjustment and a coastal development permit will go before LJCPA in October or November.

Laurel Hanson, a graphic artist and marketing strategist, presented the CRG with a brochure she designed for the Visioning Committee to send to potential donors as part of fundraising efforts for the Recreation Center renovation.

“All images are a work in progress,” Hanson said as she reviewed the brochure, which lays out the history of the building and grounds and illustrates the planned refurbishments, such as a new roof deck and auditorium, “and also just highlighting the fact that they’re going to be great places to hold meetings and classes and different events for the community.”

The brochure also is designed to highlight “the community leaders behind the project and their varying expertise,” Hanson said.

Wilson said there will be a website for information and that all funds raised will go to Friends of La Jolla Recreation Center, a nonprofit that supports the center.

He said the renovation plans themselves are “really at a schematic level, which gives us the opportunity to get to a cost so we know what we’re talking about here to fundraise to.”

Wilson said the Visioning Committee is working with Minnesota-based Landscape Structures Inc. to design the playground and that representatives of the company will tour La Jolla and the Rec Center to discuss ideas.

“There’s great momentum overall on the project,” he said.

Other CRG news

La Jolla Community Recreation Group members meet Sept. 22 online.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

Rec Center operations: San Diego Parks & Recreation Department area manager Rosalia Castruita said masks are still required inside the Rec Center, regardless of a person’s COVID-19 vaccination status.

Rec Center Director Jesse DeLille said the new fall program is out and “we pretty much have the same schedules we had before.”

“Our adult classes aren’t back yet because the volunteers just aren’t comfortable yet coming back,” he said. However, “our PeeWee sports class, since we opened back up, has completely filled up every time” to its 12-person capacity. “It’s been very popular.”

Celebrating Walter Munk: CRG Chairwoman Mary Coakley Munk said a celebration of the 104th birthday of her late husband and famed oceanographer Walter Munk will be held at The Map of the Grand Canyons of La Jolla at Kellogg Park at 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 15. There will be activities for children and a short program, she said.

Next meeting: The La Jolla Community Recreation Group next meets at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 27, online. For more information, call (858) 552-1658. ◆