Second picnic grove planned for La Jolla’s Scripps Park

A proposed second eating area will be based on this picnic grove in La Jolla's Scripps Park.
(Joan Plaehn)

Also, the San Diego city attorney’s office is working to clarify parts of the city’s sidewalk vending ordinance that address what is covered by First Amendment-protected expression.


The La Jolla Parks & Beaches group is looking to replicate the picnic grove at Scripps Park with a second outdoor eating area in the park. The board decided at its May 22 meeting to form a working group to formalize the details and present the concept at a future meeting.

The current picnic grove was unveiled in December after more than a year and a half of work. The project involved relocating tables, improving access for people with disabilities, replacing a dying tree and layering the ground cover with a paving material called GraniteCrete. The site also contains a plaque honoring the late Selma Malk, a longtime resident of La Jolla’s La Valencia Hotel whose family provided early funding for the project.

LJP&B member Alexandra Corsi, who shepherded the work, said that given the success of the initial picnic grove, the Malk family is interested in donating additional funds for another one.

The proposed site for the second picnic grove is north of the first one and currently has a table.

LJP&B member Tim Seery said, “We have a [$6,000] estimate for a topographical survey and a landscape development plan, but there is the possibility of reusing the old ones because the site is so similar.” Additional work is needed to get an updated cost estimate, he said.

LJP&B President Bob Evans encouraged creating a working group to get together before the board’s next meeting and report back with “a more detailed scope of work.” A motion to form the working group passed unanimously. It will consist of a few board members and some other community members.

Work on the first picnic grove started in March 2021. At the outset, a conceptual plan was drafted and meetings were held with San Diego city staff to obtain a right-of-entry permit and make sure the project was in line with the city’s terms and within budget. Ultimately, more than $66,000 was raised to fund the project.

Other LJP&B news

Vendor ordinance: Steve Hadley, representing the office of City Councilman Joe LaCava, whose District 1 includes La Jolla, said the San Diego city attorney’s office is working to clarify the city’s sidewalk vending ordinance, specifically sections that address what is covered by First Amendment-protected expression.

He said the changes will be submitted to the City Council, but he did not have a timeline.

City attorney spokeswoman Leslie Wolf Branscomb confirmed to the La Jolla Light that “we are working with city staff to ensure the regulations are clear and are enforced.” Further details were unavailable.

The clarification comes as a result of vendors continuing to set up shop in La Jolla parks under the claim of First Amendment protection. The ordinance generally prohibits sidewalk vending at Scripps Park, the Children’s Pool and some other coastal areas.

Some vendors are operating in Scripps Park under First Amendment-protected expression, according to the city of San Diego.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

San Diego spokesman Benny Cartwright said the municipal code allows for “items constituting expressive activity [protected] by the First Amendment,” such as newspapers, bumper stickers and buttons.

He added that the code also allows “for a broad interpretation of what expressive activity is, including art, painting and handmade jewelry.”

He said the city is required to allow park space for First Amendment activity, provided the activity does not block walkways and emergency access.

White fences: A recent repair to some white wooden fences in La Jolla is being viewed as a proof of concept for future repairs as a partnership between LJP&B and the city of San Diego.

The group has been working to get a right-of-entry permit to replace or repair wooden fences along Scripps Park and the coastline, and Evans said he expects to secure the permit in the fall.

But in May, Evans said, city crews replaced “the most dilapidated and dangerous section of the fence” on Coast Boulevard near Goldfish Point. “They removed a couple of sections of splintered, yellow-taped and broken sections of fence, [replaced it] and primed it.”

Soon after, volunteers repainted the fences “and we made it beautiful,” Evans said. The hope is that effort will demonstrate what the group would do once a permit is acquired.

Coast Walk docents: Ahead of the summer tourist season, LJP&B Vice President and Friends of Coast Walk Trail President Brenda Fake said a docent program is forming to organize weed management, educational efforts and fundraising for Coast Walk Trail.

Working with the Torrey Pines Docent Society, “we’re going to expand our trail ambassador efforts … to set up a more formal docent program in the coming weeks,” Fake said.

She said more information will be posted on the Friends of Coast Walk Trail’s Facebook page.

Next meeting: La Jolla Parks & Beaches next meets at 4 p.m. Monday, June 26, at the La Jolla/Riford Library, 7555 Draper Ave. Learn more at ◆