La Jolla's Children’s Pool Walk project short $80,000

■ Additional funding needed to proceed on schedule

By Ashley Mackin

As construction resumes on the Children’s Pool lifeguard tower — after a minor delay due to a seagull chick that was nesting there — so does fundraising for the Children’s Pool Walk beautification project.

Spearheaded by La Jollan Phyllis Minick and designed by landscape architect Jim Neri, the project would widen the sidewalk overlooking Children’s Pool, add a new gazebo and seating, and replace old planters to cover the crumbling walls. Having raised the original estimate of $250,000, higher than expected assessment costs and review fees have upped the price tag by an additional $80,000.

To save costs on the privately funded project, work would need to be done concurrent to lifeguard tower construction, so crews can take advantage of street closures and work permits already in place.

Although assessments and reviews by the city took longer than planned — pushing back any possible start date for the beautification project — the seagull chick nesting at the tower site also delayed construction, June 2 to Aug. 4.

Monica Muñoz, senior public information officer for San Diego Public Works Department explained that including the demolition, construction is expected to take eight months, with only light interior work occurring during this year’s harbor seal pupping season (Dec. 15, 2014 to May 15, 2015). The date of completion is being negotiated with the contractor hired by the city.

However, the city expects the tower to be operational by summer 2015. Muñoz said it is possible the city incurred additional costs with the delay and won’t be able to determine how much until the project is complete. The tower’s pricetag is estimated at $3.25 million.

With that schedule in mind, Neri said the Children’s Pool Walk project would need to be ready for construction by March 1. That would mean having permits secured and construction drawings approved by the city, a contractor signed up and ready to begin work, and all the necessary funding in hand.

He said any work that does not involve physical labor at the site — such as city paperwork or the search for a contractor — could occur during the pupping season.

However, with the total amount being higher than expected, Neri said extra funding will be needed, and his team is hoping to only use private dollars.

“If we can’t get more private dollars to pay for it, then we have to go through a much lengthier process because we have to use public funding that the city has in place for coastal projects,” he said. “The review process becomes a lot more rigorous. There is a lot more scrutiny of how (the public) dollars are being used so it becomes a lot more cumbersome to get something done.”

■ To contribute to the Children’s Pool Walk beautification project, e-mail

AhernGroup@gmail.com

or

MinickPhyllis@gmail.com

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