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La Jolla recreation group explores how to maintain temporary bocce court and improve Starkey Mini Park

The La Jolla Community Recreation Group welcomed new Rec Center Director Nicholas Volpe (top left) at its Nov. 17 meeting.
The La Jolla Community Recreation Group welcomed new Rec Center Director Nicholas Volpe (top left) during its Nov. 17 meeting online.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

Four months after it opened, the temporary bocce court at the La Jolla Recreation Center appears in need of upkeep.

Mary Coakley Munk, chairwoman of the La Jolla Community Recreation Group, the advisory board for the Rec Center, said during the group’s Nov. 17 virtual meeting that she had received an email from experienced bocce player Vito Formica that indicated the new bocce court “definitely needs to have some maintenance.”

The temporary court opened at the Rec Center in July; a permanent court is planned as part of Rec Center renovations.

Coakley Munk said she’d like the CRG board to think of ways to support the bocce court’s maintenance, “making sure it’s playable all the time.”

Board member Gail Forbes asked whether CRG might organize a bocce club or program that meets quarterly “to maintain and repair … supplies as needed.”

“A general ‘Oh yeah, let’s take care of it’ doesn’t work for me,” she said. “I’d like to see the involvement of those people that are vested in the program, and maybe a club is the best way to do that.”

Board member Jan Harris said “it seems like [the Rec Center] could spend some of [its] money on maintenance of the bocce ball court.”

San Diego Parks & Recreation Department area manager Rosalia Castruita said that since the bocce court was built under a right-of-entry permit, which gives non-city employees the right to undertake projects on city grounds, “the entity that requested the right of entry has to maintain what they created.”

Coakley Munk said the nonprofit Friends of La Jolla Recreation Center — which funded the bocce court — “completed the project and gave it to the city, so its normal maintenance is usually the responsibility of the city.”

Castruita said she would review the right-of-entry permit to see whether Friends of the La Jolla Recreation Center is responsible for maintenance of the court.

Other CRG news

Starkey Mini Park got a poor rating for amenities in a recent report, and some La Jollans are looking into improving it.
Starkey Mini Park in La Jolla received a poor rating for amenities in a recent report, and some La Jollans are looking into improving it.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

Starkey Mini Park: After La Jolla’s Starkey Mini Park received a poor rating for amenities in a city consultant’s report last month, CRG member Jon Wiggins asked about ways to improve the park via volunteer cleanups or donations.

Starkey Mini Park, located off the La Jolla Bike Path near Draper Avenue, is under the purview of the CRG, as it falls within Castruita’s management area.

“We live very close to it, and we know a lot of neighbors that go down and use it on a daily basis,” Wiggins said of the park. He added that neighbors were “a little incensed” that the park received such a poor score.

“It’s really a place we find community,” Wiggins said.

He asked Castruita to identify the park’s deficiencies.

“Every park has deficiencies,” Castruita said, noting that the playground at Starkey Mini Park “is old.” “The structures are still pliable to where it’s usable for the public,” she added.

She said “there can be more amenities” but added that the park is small and “everything has to do with funding. … I don’t see anything that we can improve.”

Cleaning out brush from the park would cost $8,000 to $12,000, she said. “It’s a financial challenge.”

Wiggins asked if the CRG could “get a bid just to see what the appetite is for the community on something like that.”

Castruita said residents “are a big factor in making the parks much more pleasant for everyone.”

Wiggins asked her to get an updated estimate to present to the CRG at its next meeting.

New Rec Center staff leaders: The board welcomed new Rec Center Director Nicholas Volpe, who said “there’s a lot of things that I think we can do at the Rec Center that will make not only more kids come around but adults.”

“It’s a beautiful park … and it’s a beautiful location,” he said. “There’s a lot of opportunities and possibilities for things to happen.”

Volpe said Quinlan Olds is the new assistant center director, replacing Shane Masek, who was promoted Oct. 29. Olds’ first day in his new role was Nov. 13.

Volpe, who started Nov. 1, replaced former director Jesse DeLille, who also was promoted.

Visioning Committee: CRG member Jill Peters, who also is on the board’s Visioning Committee, which is charged with planning the Rec Center renovation, said the committee is “very pleased to have the approval of the [La Jolla Community Planning Association] for the vacation of Cuvier [Street],” which will add more real estate for the renovation plan.

Peters said the committee is now in the process of obtaining project estimates for the building, the grounds and a tennis area it is working on.

She said the group is continuing to work on a fundraising website and brochure.

Next meeting: The La Jolla Community Recreation Group will not meet in December. The next meeting is at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 26, online. For more information, call (858) 552-1658. ◆