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La Jolla Parks & Beaches OKs fitness event in Scripps Park and lends support to Concours d’Elegance return

A map shows the portion of Scripps Park planned to be used for the Strength in the City event in January.
(Courtesy of Strength in the City)

After years of opposing new events in Scripps Park, or at least wanting to limit them, the La Jolla Parks & Beaches board voted this week to support two events planned for the park next year.

The Strength in the City fitness event is scheduled for Jan. 16 and the Concours d’Elegance car show is set to return April 24 after a two-year absence.

The board historically has grappled with events that limit access to public parks and charge an admission fee. At one time, it even considered a moratorium on new events in La Jolla’s public parks.

Though Strength in the City has been held in San Diego parks, the 2022 edition would be the first in Scripps Park.

Applicant representative Madison Fray said during the board’s Oct. 25 meeting that the event would feature “two fitness stages … toward the back of the greenery with speakers pointed toward the ocean.” It also is to include a meditation tent, activity booths, fitness classes and more.

To minimize visual disruption, she said, stages would be no more than 2 feet tall and fences would be around 4 feet tall. The city of San Diego has allowed event organizers to sell up to 500 tickets.

Part of the park is to be used for paid guests who are there to take classes. Another portion with vendor booths and children’s activities will be open to the public.

LJP&B trustee Melinda Merryweather noted the board’s past stance on limiting new events and not “pimping out the park.”

“I wish we could leave our parks for the people,” she said. “It is hugely important, and every park is going to become a venue for someone’s cocktail party one day. ... I think that would be horrible.”

In 2005, the board started debating whether to allow new events or put a cap on the number of events in a calendar year. In 2020, LJP&B narrowly voted down a proposal (submitted by former members of the board) to ban any new event in Scripps Park that charges admission, puts up fences and/or vends for profit.

Given that the permit is for one year, the board voted to support Strength in the City on condition that it be reviewed in any future years. There were no objections, though Merryweather and trustees Sally Miller, John Leek and Ann Dynes abstained without comment.

With much less discussion, the board also voted to support next year’s La Jolla Concours d’Elegance. The 2020 show was canceled amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and it moved to Viejas Casino & Resort in Alpine for 2021.

Concours chairman Michael Dorvillier told the board that “we’re replicating what would have been the 2020 and putting it in 2022.”

He said the show will have a ticketed event with cars on the grass at Scripps Park and a free component featuring classic cars lined along the street for the general public. Proceeds will benefit the La Jolla Historical Society.

The La Jolla Parks & Beaches group meets Oct. 25 online.
The La Jolla Parks & Beaches group discusses events in local parks, community projects and more during its Oct. 25 meeting online.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

Other Parks & Beaches news

Capital improvement project update: As part of an annual cycle, the city offers community groups the chance to produce a list of projects for the city to carry out. Funding sources include discretionary money that City Council members can allocate to city departments, along with money for specific capital improvement projects.

A preliminary list has been drafted by the office of Councilman Joe LaCava, whose District 1 includes La Jolla, and it will be reviewed by various city departments and revisited in January. In the meantime, local boards can submit their recommendations for items to consider.

LaCava representative Steve Hadley said the councilman was tasked with fielding all the projects from all the communities in the district and narrowing them to 15 items for consideration. An LJP&B working group will meet to create a list to submit for this year’s cycle pertaining to parks and beaches and projects in LJP&B’s purview.

Children’s Pool projects: Children’s Pool Plaza construction organizer and LJP&B trustee Phyllis Minick said future projects are being planned to improve La Jolla’s landmark Children’s Pool.

The Children’s Pool Plaza project, completed in 2018, involved removing some landscaping, replacing and expanding the sidewalk to improve pedestrian flow, and adding sitting walls and bike racks to the area overlooking the Children’s Pool at 850 Coast Blvd.

With the plaza constructed, sites now under consideration for repair include the rough-textured seawall walkway, the handrails at the stairways and “badly damaged” parapets.

No other details were available and no action was taken, but a broader discussion and possible action will be slated for the board’s next meeting.

Next meeting: The La Jolla Parks & Beaches board will combine its November and December meetings at its next meeting at 4 p.m. Monday, Dec. 6, online. Learn more at lajollaparksbeaches.org. ◆