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Bocce, bench and skateboarding are among La Jolla recreation group topics

The west end of the bocce court at the La Jolla Recreation Center is still unsafe, officials say.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

The advisory board for the Recreation Center holds its first meeting since June.

In its first meeting since June, the La Jolla Community Recreation Group, the advisory board for the La Jolla Recreation Center, discussed various center issues Sept. 28.

Bocce

The bocce court, which opened in July 2021, is still considered in need of work at its west end, which sits several inches above the ground to keep the court level but could create a hazard for people stepping on and off the court.

CRG Chairwoman Mary Coakley Munk said “there’s been a lot of complaints” about it.

In June, Coakley Munk said architect Tom Grunow planned to “softly edge the grass” at the west end to improve safety without “creating any other issues.”

San Diego Parks & Recreation Department District Manager Salome Martinez said city park designers would prefer a wooden platform to correct the issue, saying such a staircase or platform would be “more sustainable.”

Martinez said she would meet with designers and Coakley Munk to discuss the matter.

Staffing

The Parks & Recreation Department continues to have staffing shortages, with 70 vacancies for grounds maintenance workers citywide, Martinez said.

The shortage is “a huge impact to our operations,” she said.

Martinez said it takes a minimum of two months to complete the hiring process, from application to interview and background check.

Rec Center director Nicholas Volpe said the center will get a new staff member soon to add to himself, Brittany Mitchell and Jesus Hizon, though no date was given.

Weight and game rooms

Volpe is continuing to work on the weight room and is still waiting on the completion of a vendor contract to replace the floor.

Parks & Recreation Department Area Manager Rosalia Castruita said vendor approval “takes time.”

Volpe’s establishment of a game room for teenagers at the Rec Center also is in progress. Volpe said he has received a donated television for the room and is looking for a donated couch and other items.

“Anything helps in trying to create a safe space for the kids … that they can hang out when it’s hot or work on homework,” he said.

Coakley Munk said CRG is helping with writing a grant application to the Kiwanis Club of La Jolla to fund the game room.

The La Jolla Community Recreation Group meets Sept. 28 online.
(Screenshot by Elisabeth Frausto)

Bench donation

La Jolla resident Fay Wanetick said she and her husband, John Mendeloff, want to donate a bench to the Rec Center in memory of their daughter, who died six months ago from breast cancer.

“We used to live on Draper Avenue and our daughter played there at the [Rec Center] playground regularly and we would walk her there,” Wanetick said.

A bench at the playground in her daughter’s name would be meaningful, she said.

But in light of planned Rec Center renovations, Wanetick said she’s “reluctant to make a donation of a bench and have it be moved or destroyed” in the renovation.

She asked for assurance that the bench would remain. If she were asked to wait until the renovation begins, she would donate elsewhere because she wants the donation to be made closer to when her daughter died, she added.

CRG board member Gail Forbes said she would like “an extra effort to try and accommodate [Wanetick] in a timely manner.”

The group agreed to connect Wanetick with its Visioning Committee, which heads the renovation plans.

Skate park event

La Jollan Patrick Ahern said a group of local parents will request a one-time event at the Rec Center to spotlight what they feel is a need for a skate park in La Jolla.

The event, details of which are to be determined, would help the group “see what kind of support there will be to create a safe area for kids” to skateboard, Ahern said.

“There’s a strong interest from parents, kids and others … to create a safe, small area for kids to ride their skateboard rather than on the streets and other properties,” he said.

The group is considering various places for the skate park, but a proposed location hasn’t yet been pinpointed, Ahern said.

Skate park supporter Marnie Cheney said she’s “excited to have a skate event for all these kids and families.”

“The old saying is, ‘La Jolla doesn’t have a skate park because La Jolla is a skate park,’” Cheney said. “But we would like to have a safe space for our kids to be able to walk to, not depend on a ride, not depend on other people to get them there.”

She said a skate park should be in a visible part of La Jolla, “in a public place where they can be watched, but also part of the community.”

La Jollans need to support teens who aren’t “your normal lacrosse player, football player, baseball player, basketball player,” Cheney said. “They want to skate and that’s where they fit in. And we need to honor those kids.”

CRG board member Jon Wiggins said “anything that we could do to bring kids and their parents [to the Rec Center] would be good.”

Discussion of the skate park event will continue at a future CRG meeting.

Next meeting: The La Jolla Community Recreation Group next meets at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 26, likely online. For more information, call (858) 552-1658. ◆