Efforts in works to rejuvenate park

Scripps Park, one of La Jolla’s crown jewels, is becoming increasingly tarnished and something ought to be done about it, says a former La Jolla Town Council trustee.

“It’s not new, I’m there every day and the condition has been deteriorating for years,” said Jerry Anderson, formerly a member of the town council’s Parks & Beaches Committee. “It’s at its lowest point ever.”

Anderson said the condition of the park’s grass is horrible, patchy in spots.

“There are trees that are dead or dying,” he added. “They’ve removed a bunch of trash cans along the street that border the park. I and others are just fed up with the lack of attention the park is getting.”

Anderson passed along his concerns to Mike Forbes, chairman of the town council’s parks committee, who relayed Anderson’s views and photos he took documenting deterioration to 1st District Councilwoman Sherri Lightner. That prompted a response from Lightner’s La Jolla representative, Erin Demorest, who reported that Park and Recreation Department Shoreline Supervisor Dan Daneri is working with grounds maintenance crews at the park to resolve landscape and maintenance issues.

“The park was fertilized July 13, so this should help the turf recover from the wear and tear it is getting,” said Demorest in a letter to Forbes. “Staff is still adapting to water restrictions, and this is likely the cause of some of the dry spots, but they’re trying to work out the watering schedules to maximum benefit. They will also be replacing the dead Torrey pines, and hopefully the new ones will do better than the last ones did.”

Demorest said that photos documenting overflowing trash cans appear to have been taken late in the day after staff leaves at about 2 p.m.

“They’re working to make sure there are enough cans onsite to prevent this type of thing,” she added.

Meanwhile, the signature ocean-view Scripps Park is in the middle of development of a master plan to improve and enhance its condition long into the future. The new park vision stresses “marrying” its water and land elements, with the concept that they are parts of an inseparable whole.

Master plan recommendations call for renovating the park’s storm water drainage system, reconfiguring the park’s grading and drainage patterns and irrigation system to minimize water discharge onto bluffs and into the ocean. It also seeks to control the rodent population, engage a certified arborist to oversee landscape maintenance and replace non-native plant species such as ice plant with native species.

Patrick Ahern, a longtime town council trustee who’s been spearheading the master planning efforts, said the plan has been thoroughly vetted with La Jolla’s community advisory groups. The next step is to get it approved by the 11-member San Diego Park & Recreation Board, which advises the city on the acquisition, development, maintenance and operation of parks, beaches and recreation properties and facilities.

“We just got the park master plan back from the architect a couple of weeks ago, and we’re doing some final refinements on it with what the community has come up with,” Ahern said. “Then we’re going to take it to the city Parks and Rec Board to have it adopted as an amendment to the general development plan.”