Board makes plans to fix up LJ Rec Center

La Jolla Parks & Recreation Inc.'s new board of directors is starting on a path to update the 93-year-old community center to better suit the needs of young and old residents.

The most significant item on the board’s 2009 agenda will be master planning changes to the landscape of the La Jolla Recreation Center, including the possible relocation of many areas and the replacement of much of the old playground equipment.

“We have started to explore what can be done to this facility, which is almost 100 years old,” said Chip Rome, who was re-elected president. “We feel we need a little sprucing up, a fresh look.”

Rome said the council has retained the architectural firm of Spurlock Poirier to do preliminary plans for reallocating and rearranging space at the popular center to help streamline its operations.

‘Not in concrete yet’

“I would anticipate we’re going to be getting some new playground equipment, though nothing’s in concrete,” he added. “We’ve also talked about the possibility of relocating the basketball courts and the soccer fields so there’s a better flow.”

Rome said it doesn’t make sense for basketball courts used primarily by adults to be located right in the middle of the center in close proximity to areas used by toddlers and young children, which presents safety concerns.

Dianne Brittingham, the center’s director, said the facility continues to need more private donations to keep it open longer because of city budget cuts.

Seeking help

The center is also short on volunteers.

“The board wants us to do special events andbecause of the workload, and lack of staff, we could use some volunteers,” she said.

Brittingham said the idea behind the new board’s master plan is to “centralize more things.

“In 1915 when they made this park,” she said, “they weren’t thinking about the need for a bigger playground or different age groups using the facility with increased needs for exercise equipment and building space. We’re looking at ideas that can make this facility more family friendly.”

New faces onboard

The new officers of the LJP&R board are Chip Rome, president; Susan Oliver, vice president; Hobe Schroeder, treasurer, and Lisa Johnston, secretary. Other directors are Carol Voelker, Carolyn Parrish, Hans Speidel, Martin Kaplan, Mary Coakley, Patricia Miller, Peter Martin and Rita O’Neil.

LJP&R, formerly the La Jolla Recreation Council, is an independent nonprofit corporation, which serves in an advisory, fundraising and promotional capacity to the city of San Diego’s Park and Recreation Department. The Board of Directors is made up of local residents who volunteer their time.

The public is encouraged to attend monthly meetings and join the board. Monthly meetings are held on the fourth Wednesday of each month (except in December) at the La Jolla Recreation Center.

For further information, please contact Chip Rome at (619) 531-9000.