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Deal may restore Shores playground

Thanks to a compromise reached last week with the City Council, La Jolla Shores now has local control over replacing playground equipment at Kellogg Park, as well as one month to raise at least $45,000 needed to complete the $150,000 project.

There’s a chance the project could include a Wyland creation – a life-size replica of JJ, the whale rescued by Sea World.

Friends of Kellogg Park spearheaded creation, funding and construction of the children’s sandy play lot at the popular park in the mid-'90s. But, in April, residents woke up to find the play equipment had been removed.

City officials had an agreement with the Shores community to maintain the Kellogg Park playground, but “that didn’t happen,” said Jim Heaton, La Jolla Shores Association chair, at the group’s Oct. 8 meeting.

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“The playground equipment was removed because it was in a state of disrepair, and the city didn’t have the money to fund repairs,” he said.

Asked whether the community was offered the option to make repairs, Heaton replied: “There was absolutely no notice. We have to be more proactive. We’re going to have to set up a maintenance fund, or it’s going to be gone 15 years from now.”

‘Fair solution’

Mary Coakley, one of the Shores Association’s 15 board members, said the city was sensitive to community concerns about allowing local control over the Kellogg Park play area. “Given the situation, it was a fair and equitable solution,” she said.

“We’re doing an all-out campaign right now to find the $25,000-plus,” added Heaton. “We have a dedicated number of donors that are making this happen. It will be all private funding. We still have to deliver the goods. We’ve got 30 days.”

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Heaton added it’s important, for a variety of reasons, that the Shores community retains direct control over Kellogg Park playground.

“It gives us vendor choice, control over design,” he said.

Detailing designs

The first phase of the project calls for replacing the playground equipment with upgraded gear. Higher grade sand would also be put in, which alone would cost about $20,000.

Coakley said a second phase to the project is envisioned, the centerpiece of which would be artwork which marine artist Robert Wyland, who owns a Village art gallery, has offered to donate.

Wyland’s artwork would be put in at the north end of the Kellogg Park playground replacing the sculpture of two dolphins that is there now.

Coakley added anyone wishing to make a donation to replace the playground equipment should do so through the nonprofit La Jolla Town Council Foundation, P.O. Box 1101, La Jolla 92038.