Construction for “The Map” officially began on March 31, initiating the installation of what has been a true community collaboration.
The unique in-ground sculpture, measuring 63 feet in length and 30 to 50 feet in width, contains 55 realistic painted bronze fish and invertebrates embedded in Lithocrete and depicts the La Jolla Shores coastal underwater park and ecological reserve.
“The Map” will be located between the south comfort station and the children’s playground, marking the entry point of the premier dive site in San Diego.
The beginning of its construction marks a sweet moment for project director Mary Coakley, who has been nurturing the endeavor for several years.
“It’s kind of hard to believe,” Coakley said. “It’s been a long journey, but we have great hope that this will foster a keen awareness of the ocean and it’s inhabitants.
Designed to create learning opportunities and promote respect for the natural world, “The Map” commemorates indigenous species and Kumeyaay artifacts.
The best part, said Coakley, has been the community involvement.
Artists, divers, educators, beach enthusiasts, community leaders and professional organizations such as Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the Birch Aquarium at Scripps and Kumeyaay-Diegueno Land Conservancy have worked together to secure funding and finalize the design.
To date, the project has received $75,000 from County Supervisor Pam Slater-Price, $55,000 from the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, $15,000 from Las Patronas and $117,000 from individual donors.
There have also been immeasurable donations of time, expertise and materials.
The final cost of the project will be $350,000. Donations are still being accepted. Information is available at
www.lajollashoresmap.comor by calling (858) 840-0250.
“We hope this will be the beginning of many other steps along the way to improve our park and coastline,” Coakley said. “It’s a beginning.”