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Scout’s Calumet Park bench replacement project makes headway

Two of the benches at Calumet Park in Bird Rock are slated to be replaced through an Eagle Scout project.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

A project thought to have been benched — replacing some of the seating at Bird Rock’s Calumet Park — has gotten new life recently, the La Jolla Parks & Beaches board heard during its April 25 meeting online.

LJP&B previously lent its support to local Boy Scout and La Jolla High School student Dash Richardson’s plan to replace two deteriorated benches for his Eagle Scout project using a mold he bought to create the frame, plus installing new wooden planks. LJP&B supported the project in December but hadn’t heard an update since.

However, LJP&B member Barbara Dunbar, speaking on Dash’s behalf, said this week that meetings had taken place between Dash and representatives of the San Diego Parks & Recreation Department, most recently on April 6.

“They clarified a number of points, resolved some issues and are headed toward permits and permission to move forward,” Dunbar said. “This is a great advancement considering that we thought for a while that the project had stalled.”

Among the notes from the city, she said, were that the wood for the backs and seats must be redwood and that “every effort is to be made to recover and reuse the existing dedication plaques.”

Dunbar said money will need to be raised for the benches “since the cost has gone up since he first thought of this project.” She said she would facilitate that along with the Bird Rock Community Council.

“Some of the benches need to be fully replaced due to deteriorating cracks and crumbling concrete structural legs and back supports,” she said. “These benches are increasingly unsafe and uninviting to those that use the park and need a place to sit. This project will be a notable benefit to the neighborhood of Bird Rock, to the community of La Jolla, the city of San Diego and to all the visitors who use Calumet Park. Dash stuck the course and kept going, and this is a win/win.”

Dunbar said a cost estimate, timeline and additional requirements should be available in coming months.

The Eagle rank is the highest achievement in Scouting and requires completion of a service project that benefits the community.

The La Jolla Parks & Beaches board meets April 25 on Zoom.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

Other LJP&B news

Picnic grove: Another project the board previously approved is making headway. The Scripps Park picnic grove project, which LJP&B endorsed in March 2021, would renovate a current picnic area to make it more accessible to people in wheelchairs, improve the seating area, replace the ground cover and make other upgrades.

LJP&B member Alexandra Corsi said the project team would spend the summer construction moratorium (Memorial Day to Labor Day) obtaining the necessary permits and starting fundraising in hopes of being ready to proceed in the fall.

LJP&B members met in recent months with city staff to discuss the scope of the project and the procedure for applying for a right-of-entry permit to perform the work. The total project includes design initiation, contractor selection and approval, right-of-entry permitting and construction. The design initiation began in early January.

Funding for the project has come largely from a private donor, but LJP&B intends to raise more money to offset additional costs.

Resurfacing of Neptune Place: Several board members sought clarity on the possible repaving of Neptune Place in the Windansea area. Steve Hadley, representing the office of City Councilman Joe LaCava, whose District 1 includes La Jolla, said he didn’t have much information but added that there is hope.

He said Mayor Todd Gloria sent out a list of streets “in desperate need of repaving” and asked council members to help prioritize them. La Jolla Parkway topped the list for District 1 and will be repaved in coming months as part of the mayor’s “Sexy Streets” initiative. But Neptune Place was “right up there,” Hadley said.

“In the meantime, the mayor has come back and said ‘What can we do to make a difference immediately?’ and somehow Neptune came back on that list, closer to the top,” Hadley said.

He said he didn’t have details on when or how it might be resurfaced.

Next meeting: La Jolla Parks & Beaches President Bob Evans said the board intends to have its next meeting in person at 4 p.m. Monday, May 23, at the La Jolla/Riford Library, 7555 Draper Ave. He said more details will be released as the meeting gets closer. Learn more at lajollaparksbeaches.org. ◆