Planners: put threefold-larger OB library at top of list
by Tony De Garate
Nov 14, 2012 | 4516 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Replacing Ocean Beach’s aging library with a modern facility that is triple the size of the current branch on Santa Monica Street should be the community’s No. 1 priority next time the city makes out its budget for infrastructure, according to a wish list developed by the Ocean Beach Planning Board (OBPB).

The board, which is officially sanctioned by the city to make land-use and quality-of-life recommendations to the city, voted 6-2 to place the library atop a list of 13 projects for the city’s consideration during the OBPB’s monthly meeting Nov. 7.

It’s the first time the OBPB and the city’s other 40-odd community planning groups have been invited to help prioritize items in the city’s capital improvement project (CIP) budget. This budget includes outlays for unique, often large-scale construction projects that enhance public assets like parks, beaches and roadways.

In addition to the library, the OBPB’s wish list includes five items extracted from an ambitious vision to enhance the coastline that was presented to a board subcommittee last May under the title, “Ocean Beach Waterfront Master Plan.”

That plan was hatched by the Ocean Beach MainStreet Association, but has since been handed off to the Ocean Beach Community Development Corporation, the group currently overseeing development of the Ocean Beach Gateway Project, said Tom Perrotti, the OBCDC’s new president.

“It’s a bold plan,” Perrotti said. “It pretty much covers the entire beachfront of Ocean Beach.”

Elements of the waterfront plan received high rankings by the OBPB. The No. 2 priority item, after a new library, is a project to revitalize Veterans Park at the foot of Newport Avenue.

“It’s in such disrepair that it’s almost an embarrassment to the community,” Perrotti said.

Even if the city ultimately agrees to include the waterfront projects on its CIP list, Perrotti doesn’t expect the city to pay for all of them.

“We’re already putting feelers out for more funding,” he said.

Three local projects come from the city’s list of CIP needs, meaning the city regards the projects as essential — but not necessarily with any identified funding associated with them: the Ocean Beach library, the lifeguard station and new stairways and walkways at Orchard Avenue and the Old Salt Water Pool.

Once community planning groups weigh in with their rankings, the city’s Public Works Department will make an evaluation. Then, the Financial Management Department will confirm the availability of funds. The new mayor would then release a proposed CIP budget in April for fiscal year 2014, according to the city’s website.

THE WISH LIST

Priorities from the Ocean Beach Planning Board for capital improvement projects in the city's FY2014 budget.

1.New Ocean Beach library: 15,000 square feet (more than triple the size of current branch). Cost: $14.8 million

2.Veterans Park/plaza revitalization. Removal and replacement of hardscape area around the flagpole with seating, lighting and other improvements at the 12,000-square-feet area at the foot of Newport Avenue. Also includes a 30-foot “Vet’s accent” wall, improvements to the existing sea wall, and donor plaques.

3.Two new crosswalks on Abbott Street – one at Newport Avenue, the other at Saratoga Avenue

4.Dog Beach and bike path improvements. Upgrade one-mile section from Dog Beach parking lot to Sunset Cliffs Boulevard. Upgrade hardscape at Dog Beach entryway. Install new rinses and water fountains for dogs. Plant palm trees along trail to extend pattern to Robb Field.

5.Ocean Beach Salt Water Pool area. Replace former saltwater pool sand area south of the pier with 4,000-square-feet of irrigated landscaping. Reinforce perimeter retaining sea wall and existing stairwell. Install new stairwell to tidepools.

6.Ocean Beach Pier parking lot area. New sculpture underneath pier. New public art on retaining wall and removal or restoration of existing sculptures. Replacement of existing concrete stairwell to the pier and addition of new access to the beach from the boardwalk.

7.Preliminary design and evaluation of coastal erosion. This existing project from the city’s current list would spend $900,000 to repair stairways and walkways at two Ocean Beach locations (Old Salt Pool, Orchard Avenue), one in Pacific Beach and three in La Jolla.

8.Ocean Beach lifeguard station. The city estimates a cost of $3.1 million for a new structure at 1950 Abbott St. with an observation tower, first aid room, reception area, kitchen, locker room and restroom.

9.Ocean Beach Recreation Center “tot lot” improvements. Improved seating, picnic tables and other upgrades.

10.Saratoga Park improvements. Project calls for 2,000 square feet of children's play equipment, 1,000 square feet of hardscaping, and 500 square feet of seating, lighting and landscaping to define the area.

11.Robb Field pump station dirt parking lot paving. Would pave a 55,000-square-foot dirt area on the west side of the West Point Loma Boulevard entry.

12.Ocean Beach entryway sign. Replacement of termite-infested sign on the west side of Sunset Cliffs Boulevard, plus landscaping improvements. The Ocean Beach Town Council plans to fund this but has been advised to ask for placement in the city budget.

13.Ocean Beach Central Park. Buy the property and develop a park at the long-vacant corner of Voltaire Street and Sunset Cliffs Boulevard. Planners voted to place this proposal on the bottom because the owner has proposed an office complex at the site, which the OBPB approved two years ago.

OTHER OBPB NEWS

• Outgoing Mayor Jerry Sanders and District 2 City Councilman Kevin Faulconer are both Republicans, and San Diego appears to be getting its first Democratic mayor since 1992 next month with the inauguration of Bob Filner. Nevertheless, Faulconer “is committed to working with the new mayor, just as he has with the previous mayor,” said Faulconer aide Mike Patton. Faulconer had endorsed Filner’s opponent, fellow Republican City Councilman Carl DeMaio, in the officially nonpartisan contest.

• Board members unanimously approved a permit to upgrade wireless communication antennae placed inside the steeple by T-Mobile Wireless at the Bethany Lutheran Church, 2051 Sunset Cliffs Ave. The improvements will not bring about an increase in the output of radiofrequency signals, said T-Mobile representative Ann Regan, in response to a question from a board member.

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