Community-funded projects at La Jolla Shores progressing as planned


By Pat Sherman

The 15-foot-long statue of J.J. the gray whale in Kellogg Park — and its admirers — will get a welcome respite from the heat this summer.

By the time June gloom clears, a $40,000 shade structure that will keep the bronze statue cool to the touch should be complete.

The work, made possible by private donations to the nonprofit Friends of La Jolla Shores, was well underway June 4, and should be complete by the end of next week, said the organization’s president, Mary Coakley.

The statue, a tribute to a comatose gray whale rescued by SeaWorld and nursed back to health in 1997, will be sheltered by a mesh sailcloth, suspended by posts.

“There had been some concrete dolphins in the playground that everyone really loved, so we wanted to put something back in there that the kids could climb on and enjoy, which also had an educational component,” Coakley said. “It’s taken a year to find a design that was minimally intrusive and would enhance J.J. and be semi-affordable.”

Friends of La Jolla Shores hopes to create a mural on the seat wall surrounding the playground that will tell J.J.’s story.

Fish panels update

Installation of interpretive panels depicting 52 of the most prominent species of fish found off the coast of La Jolla Shores should begin in four to five weeks, Coakley said.

The work was funded through a donation from the La Jolla Community Foundation, the office of County Supervisor Pam Slater-Price and donations to the Friends of La Jolla Shores.

Local underwater photographers were asked to submit their best shots of fish inhabiting the shoreline and underwater canyons off La Jolla Shores, which are also depicted in bronze on a map between the playground and bathroom.

Paula Selby donated graphics and layout for the project, and John Schenck provided architectural drawings and additional support.

A company in Quebec will bake the photos onto aluminum panels. “It’s supposed to hold up much better to the elements,” Coakley said.

Next to each photograph will be a small garibaldi fish icon. When the corresponding garibaldi is scanned with a smartphone, the viewer will be taken to a website with additional information about the species in the photo.

The 27-foot-long panel, to be located adjacent the garden in Kellog Park, will be installed by San Diego’s Park and Recreation Department. The roughly $11,000 project is a collaboration with Birch Aquarium.

Comfort station coming

The Friends of La Jolla Shores also is seeking donations for a lavatory to replace the existing north bathroom at Kellogg Park, to be completed by La Jolla-based Beacham Construction.

The family of investor John Watson, who was murdered inside his La Jolla Shores apartment in 2010, has pledged $450,000 for the project.

“He loved the Shores and his family wanted to do something in his memory,” Coakley said. “When they saw the condition of the north bathroom, they decided that they wanted to make a donation to replace it in his memory.

“The Friends of La Jolla Shores is trying to make sure that we can build it for that amount, but we’ll probably have to raise the difference somehow.”

Coakley said the project, known as the Kellog Park North Comfort Station, replaces an earlier bathroom design that was deemed too large and contained artwork the community found objectionable.

Construction is expected to begin in the fall.

Donate to the comfort station

Call Mary Coakley at (619) 840-0250 or email