City officials have released additional funding for the long-delayed Phase II near Robb Field to make the gateway area more accessible to walkers, joggers and bicyclists with a user-friendly walkway compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), intersection improvements and enhanced crosswalks to enhance safety, according to District 2 City Councilman Kevin Faulconer.
The time for action has arrived, said Faulconer, who offered encouraging words to residents and visitors frustrated by the multiple delays of the gateway project over the years.
“Let’s get this vision off the drawing board and make it a reality,” Faulconer said.
Because of the renewed push, Faulconer said the city’s chief financial officer authorized an increase in the capital improvements budget to the tune of the $150,000 that will make the project a reality. Of that figure, $100,000 will come from a federal grant and another $50,000 will come from an urban community development impact fee fund for Ocean Beach, said Faulconer.
No hard and fast date has been set for construction as yet because the project is still in the bid process, but Faulconer was obviously pleased by the development.
“I am very proud to have collaborated with the members of OBCDC (Ocean Beach Community Development Council) and the community regarding this project,” he said. “It will definitely reflect the unique character of Ocean Beach and our community. The design of the walkway will be reminiscent to the conch-shell design that is reflected throughout the new plaza [part of the Phase I construction].”
The ADA-compliant walkway will help connect the new plaza with the north end of the project site adjacent to Robb Field. Other work will enhance crosswalks and improve the intersection at West Point Loma Boulevard and Sunset Cliffs Boulevard.
The vision for the entire 12,900-square-foot gateway project area was shaped as the result of concerns and input by the OBCDC, Robb Field Recreational Council, Ocean Beach Planning Group, residents, visitors and recreational users.
News of the impending construction seemed to be welcomed by Ocean Beach resident Jason Kurcaba, who said he has also been frustrated by the “endless construction” at Robb Field entrance.
“I can’t wait for this [entryway] to be finished,” Kurcaba said. “So far, I like the plaza design. Although I haven’t seen anybody frolicking there yet, hopefully it is not going to be another hangout for skaters and beggars. The current walkway down to the park is dangerous. I’ve seen people struggle there.”
Kurcaba also praised the efforts to drive the gateway project on to the finish line.
“I applaud Mr. Faulconer’s great initiative to have this unfinished construction zone completed soon,” Kurcaba said. “My question is: are the public restroom facilities down there [at Robb Field] included in the project? Those could definitely use an update for everybody’s sake.”
— Kevin McKay contributed to this story