La Jolla's park management groups in transition

By Dave Schwab

Staff Writer

La Jollans will continue to advise the city on how their parks are managed but will be doing so soon under a new framework.

“We’re beginning the process of getting a special-use permit and separating from the Town Council which is membership-dues driven,” Michele Addington, chair of La Jolla Town Council Parks & Beaches Committee told her colleagues at their July 26 meeting.

She’ll be working with parks director Stacy LoMedico and Joe LaCava to form a new entity.

The change is a consequence of a new city policy prohibiting local groups from participating in parks management unless they’re nonprofit.

“Up until now the Parks & Beaches Committee has done most of the heavy lifting with La Jolla community parks,” noted Joe LaCava, president of La Jolla Community Planning Association, which makes land-use recommendations to the city.

Forming a new La Jolla group with the city’s cooperation will be an important transition in managing the parks, said LaCava. “The good old days of very casual and informal” local control is giving way to a more structured, formalized process.

“A couple of years ago the city of San Diego started authorizing rec councils to issue special-use permits giving them authority and helping regulate them in their administration and financial operations.” he said.

LaCava added the existing ageement splitting park management among La Jolla’s three advisory groups expires this year. “That has prompted Stacy LoMedico to come out and visit all the (park) groups and say, ‘La Jolla has traditionally had a three-way split of responsibilities, do you want to continue that’?” he said.

Now Addington and LaCava will try to figure out what will work best.

Managing LJ’s Parks

Unlike most communities, which have only one recreation council serving as liaison to the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, La Jolla currently has three.

They are:

  • La Jolla Shores Association responsible for Kellogg Park, the Shores, Laureate Park, Cliffridge Park and Allen Field.
  • La Jolla Town Council Parks & Beaches Committee responsible for all the coastal parks including Scripps, Bird Rock’s Calumet and La Jolla Hermosa parks.
  • La Jolla Recreation Council Inc. overseeing La Jolla Rec Center and its grounds at 615 Prospect St. as well as Bird Rock Park adjoining Bird Rock Elementary School.