“(This is) great news today, having funding to keep the fire pits open not only this summer but a plan to keep them open for years to come,” Faulconer said.
Donations totaling more than $64,000 from the San Diego Foundation and the San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau (ConVis) have been committed to the “Save Our Fire Pits” fundraising campaign so far.
While the $64,500 is not enough to keep the 186 fire pits operational for the entire fiscal year, it gives officials time to build on a public-private partnership through the “Save Our Fire Pits” campaign. Most of the city’s 186 fire rings are along the shoreline in Ocean Beach, Mission Bay, Mission Beach, Pacific Beach and north to La Jolla Shores.
Maintenance costs of $150,000 annually for the pits were originally eliminated from Mayor Jerry Sanders’ proposed 2012 budget.
Faulconer, who represents the La Jolla, Pacific Beach, Mission Beach, Ocean Beach and Mission Bay communities, said he has fought hard to keep the fire pits alive because they are a valuable resource to the community’s quality of life.
“Fire pits are so important to the fabric of life here in San Diego,” Faulconer said. “I can tell you from first-hand experience, people love the fire pits.”
Faulconer said the pits are an asset to the city for the locals who use and enjoy them, as well as an attraction for the many visitors who come to the area.
There are 186 fire pits in San Diego with nearly all of them located in Faulconer’s district.
Sanders also attended the conference.
“He’s put a plan in place which I think is a good plan. We’ll monitor that plan very closely,” Sanders said.
Faulconer is counting on a public-private joint effort to keep the fire pits working in San Diego. Donations of $35,000 from The San Diego Foundation, $25,000 from ConVis and $4,500 from the La Jolla Community Foundation were presented at the conference. The Hotel Motel Association has also pledged ongoing funding.
Faulconer said keeping the fire pits running at the idyllic beaches and bays of San Diego is well worth the cost.
“It’s a relatively small amount of money in the big scheme of things but it’s a very big piece of our quality of life,” Faulconer said.
To make a donation online, visit the San Diego Foundation website at www.sd-foundation.org, or mail checks with “Fire Pits” in the memo line to the foundation at 2508 Historic Decatur Road, Suite 200, San Diego, 92106.
— Patricia M. Walsh contributed to this story