OCEAN BEACH, CA. Every now and then, an Ocean Beach organization takes one of the community’s problems head-on. This is happening with the old OB lifeguard station and its public restroom facilities. Recently, the OB Rag complained about the state of the restrooms.
Stepping up to the problems, the OB Town Council has “adopted” the public building – built sometime in the late Sixties – and plans to shepherd through some improvements with the facility.
I spoke with Jim Musgrove, the OB Town Council president the other day. He informed me that his Board was taking the lifeguard building under its wing. He acknowledged that the City of San Diego has no money to completely replace the aging building, even though OB was promised a new one a few years back.
The Council is working with the City, however, to ensure that it is safe. They have hooked up with the lifeguards, the Park and Rec Department, Councilmember Kevin Faulconer’s office and the OB Mainstreet Association, and together they have been having discussions on the improvements for the last year.
A local architect, Steven Lombardi, has offered his services and is drawing up changes to improve the building and deal with certain safety issues.
“We’ve been told by the city,” Musgrove said, “that there are no new buildings on the horizon.” So, they’re looking at a number of ideas and improvements, “nothing set in stone,” Jim assured me. And they include:
- placing a gate on the lifeguards’ own small parking lot; there have been a couple of close-calls with pedestrians, Jim said; this would also help with the lifeguards egress and ingress to the lot;
- possibly new landscaping with drought-tolerant vegetation;
- putting up a mural on the top section of the lifeguard tower;
- installing mosaic tiles on the building – and OBceans can buy a tile to help with the costs of improvements;
- new paint job for the building;
- locking the restrooms themselves – as there have been problems with people sleeping in them.
Most of these ideas sound great. I told Jim, however, he might have problems with the community agreeing to locking up the restrooms at night. “People use them at all hours,” I said.
“What about seating inside?” I asked Jim. He wasn’t certain about that as space is narrow. He did say they’d like to see the restrooms more ADA compliant and accessible. There’s state and Federal monies for improvements like that.
“What about the showers?” There’s no changes being discussed for them.
The tower does need to be updated and cleaned up. “The lifeguards would love to see the upgrades,” Jim added. He wants to avoid, however, what happened about 10 years ago, when a bunch of OB volunteers took it upon themselves and painted the lifeguard station on their own. “OB style.”
One of the Council Board members, Larry Wasserman, has offered to be the point of contact for these improvements.
This is great, that the town council has taken this on. At times, it appears that OB consumes itself in beer bashes and musical shindigs, while its infrastructure crumbles and even closes down. We welcome the OB Town Council stepping up to the problems of our lifeguard station and its public restrooms.
Meanwhile, in our quest for guidance on the issue of the conditions of our public restrooms, we examined briefly the new public restrooms at Robb Field’s Skateboard Park.
Finally, for comparison, we visited the Pacific Beach lifeguard station and the restrooms nearby. Envious of their newer lifeguard tower, the public restrooms were not a huge upgrade from OB’s. More on all of this later …….