La Jolla Parks and Beaches sets priorities for budget cycle

By Pat Sherman

La Jolla Parks and Beaches, Inc. (LJP&B) voted on its top priorities for capital improvement projects, in anticipation of an invitation by the mayor’s office for community groups to provide input on the capital improvement budget for fiscal year 2014 — this time, well before the city begins working on it in December.

After some discussion and a vote by active LJP&B members in attendance last month, the group decided that its top four priorities (and estimated costs) are:

1) Aesthetic improvements to the sidewalk on Coast Boulevard near Children’s Pool ($250,000)

2) A Coast Walk parking feasibility study ($50,000)

3) Improvements to Scripps Park ($1,863,000)

4) A parking plan for South Coast Boulevard ($299,942).

Prior to the meeting, LJP&B president Patrick Ahern and Dan Allen came up with a list of nine projects to consider. The chosen four priorities were sent to the La Jolla Community Planning Association to be integrated with other La Jolla capital improvement projects of importance, such as park, sewer and street repairs. Projects already under construction were removed from the prioritization process, Allen said, because they are expected to be complete.

• Mount Soledad lighting update

During public comment, architect James Alcorn offered an update on the Mt. Soledad Memorial Association’s proposal to illuminate the flag and portions of the veterans memorial at night.

During a lighting test held in July, some of the lights proposed to illuminate the steps and portions of the memorial wall were found to be too bright, Alcorn said.

“The end result is that the client has decided not to try to illuminate the walls,” Alcorn said. Lighting of the flag was received favorably by those at the test, Alcorn said, and will remain in the plans, thought the flag will be lit from below, rather than from the side.

Alcorn said 7-watt lamps illuminating the steps “looked horrible” and gave off too much light.

“Thank God they did some testing,” he said. “They’re now looking at a 3-watt LED lights to light the stairs at the end of certain walls,” Alcorn said, for a total of 12 lights.

Lighting of plaques around the circumference of the memorial was also considered too bright and removed from the plans.

Eventually, Alcorn said, there may be a second phase with more lights added to steps at the opposite side of the memorial, but for now there is no plan to add additional lights, he said.

In response to some concerns about the controversial, concrete cross being illuminated, Alcorn assured that lights would not be installed all the way up to the cross. A timer will most likely be installed to turn on the lights. Though the flag will be illuminated all night, the step lighting will be shut off when the park closes each night.