UPSES will help facilitate Point Loma pocket park creation
by DAVE SCHWAB
Published - 06/25/15 - 04:47 PM | 0 0 comments | 40 40 recommendations | email to a friend | print
United Portuguese SES has consented to be the nonprofit supporting creation of a new pocket park at the end of Avenida de Portugal.

That news headlined Peninsula Community Planning Board’s June meeting, where another hot topic included an update on an interim fix at the Catalina/Canon intersection, where a child was recently killed in a traffic accident.

Point Lomans also heard about proposed changes to Lindbergh Field’s air navigation system, which could impact them in the future.

Referring to it as a “walk-in park,” board members Jon Linney and Don Sevrens, speaking on their own behalves, discussed the latest developments with their ongoing park-development project.

The two activists have been negotiating for months with the city’s Park and Recreation Department about turning the .68-acre vacant lot at the end of Canon Street into a pocket park. The small, triangle-shaped undeveloped parcel was transferred from the Public Works Department to Park and Recreation on June 30, 2014, and is now a designated park site.

“United Portuguese SES has agreed to be our nonprofit sponsor for the park creation effort,” said Linney. “This is huge. It’s what we’ve been looking for the last year.”

Linney said having the backing of a high-profile, nonprofit group like United Portuguese SES means “private park donations are tax-deductible.”

Linney added United Portuguese SES has also agreed “to be our fiscal custodian: They will hold our money so we don’t have to pay a third party to do that and all donations can go to the park.”

“We’ve reached out to the community to be a partner,” said Carl Silva, United Portuguese SES president. “We want to be more visible in the community — and this is a great opportunity for us to do that while helping the community to have a nice park.”

Silva described the new partnership as a “win-win situation” for the Portuguese community.

Sevrens said Portuguese Village Park is the current working title for the pocket park, which he added is planned to have a historical theme.

Sevrens noted park creation is a “very formal process bound by city rules.” He said there will be at least two public workshops on the issue to allow Point Lomans to have their say, not only on the park’s creation but also on what amenities are to be included in it.

“We have a lot of people — walkers, joggers, dog walkers, bicyclists — using this,” Sevrens said, noting the park creation could take as long as five years.

“We hope to do it sooner than that,” he said.

Mary Harder, who lives near the park, has been critical of problems it could create with traffic, noise and its being an attractive nuisance, drawing undesirables.

She posed several more questions about the proposed new pocket park at the June 18 planning board meeting.

“Will the park have parking spaces or will they be on the street?” Harder asked. “What will be the hours of operation? Will there be permits issued for special events? Will there be lighting? Will there be money to maintain this park forever, just like there is for Balboa Park or Presidio Park?”

In other action:

• City traffic engineer Phil Rust gave community planners a more fleshed-out proposal about installation of a pedestrian-controlled, signalized intersection at Catalina/Canon.

Rust updated the group on plans to reconfigure the intersection, which now includes adding a bike lane.

In March, a vacationing couple during an early-morning walk with their infant daughter in a stroller were struck by an SUV turning from Catalina onto Canon. The father was critically injured and hospitalized. The child died. The mother was uninjured.

• PCPB member Paul Webb discussed the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen), wherein airports throughout the Southwest, including San Diego, are converting to a Global Positioning System, which could impact plane routes over Point Loma.

Residents expressed concern that airport traffic might increase and present more noise problems. Webb noted San Diego International Airport’s capacity is limited because it has a single runway.
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