The Adopt-A-Fire-Pit Project Is Looking for a Few Good Local Volunteers
OB Fire Pits Before OB Town Council on April 28th
The eight remaining fire pits on OB beaches are fast becoming a burning issue. As you probably know, the City of San Diego, under the pretense of not having sufficient funds, plans on removing all 185 fire pits that ring the City’s beaches – including Mission Bay. And these include what’s left of the pits in our community.
The City’s plans of removal are said to begin at the start of the new fiscal year, July 1st, as the City does have the money for maintenance of the fire pits up through this June.
So, obviously, the fire pits are on the Mayor’s budget chopping block. (See back posts on the issue, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and especially here. – Okay, so we’ve blogged a lot about the fire pits.)
The OB Rag has been spearheading an “Adopt-a-Fire-Pit” Program whereby volunteers from the neighborhood, businesses, civic groups – whomever, step up and pledge to clean and maintain their fire pit for the year – at no cost – outside of gloves and some equipment.
This Adopt project has been fairly successful in that most of OB’s eight pits are accounted for. But just recently, a couple of the pits are now available for adoption or sponsorship. If you or your group are interested, please email us at email@example.com and let us know, giving us names and contact info of those taking responsibility for the group. We do have waiting lists being developed, but we are looking for OB residents, businesses or civic organizations.
OB Fire Pit saviors are meeting with Councilmember Kevin Faulconer later this month. And the issue of saving them will before the OB Town Council at their monthly meeting on April 28th (Masonic Temple at 7pm).
There are other efforts by other citizens to save the fire pits as well, most focus on trying to raise the supposed $200,000 the City insists that it needs to cover their maintenance, insurance, etc.
For a number of reasons, the City has balked at allowing volunteers to clean fire pits, even though the City (and State) utilize volunteers to do other risky cleaning jobs. There are issues of liability, bulk trash, toxic waste and accountability.
Large Trash/ Hazardous Waste
First, according to Drew Potocki, the City’s Urban Forester, when trash is dumped on public property anywhere in the City, such as a sofa or hazardous material, the San Diego Department of Park and Recreation does not handle the oversize trash themselves. Instead, Park and Recreation calls the City’s Environmental Division who will go and take the burnt sofa out of the fire pit and dispose of the Hazardous Trash as part of their normal city-wide duties.
The City says that the same procedures of calling the Environmental Division to pick up trash, could be used by Park and Recreation officials, but not by volunteers. Instead volunteers would be required not only to clean the fire pits with regular maintenance, but also deal with any large trash items and hazardous waste by themselves, with no help from the City’s Environmental Division.
Use of Volunteers / Liability Insurance / Accountability
Second, a number of City Departments utilize citizen volunteers without requiring them to be part of a non-profit and carry their own $1 million dollars of liability insurance. An example is the Police Departments RSVP Program – they do not require the same restrictions that volunteers who clean fire pits are saddled with. The City insists that since the cleaning of the fire pit would involve maintenance and cleaning, the same type of liability insurance and requirements given to the RSVP Program volunteers, could not be given to regular ordinary Volunteers. (RSVP Information: Volunteer Manager, (619) 446-1012; Retired Senior Volunteer Patrol (R.S.V.P.), (619) 446-1012)
According to the Park and Recreation’s Volunteer page , there are already processes in place that should allow us, any citizen, or any citizen group to Volunteer their time without-liability insurance and non-profit status.
Examples of Adopt-A-Park include the following:
Grounds Maintenance Volunteers. Assist in cleaning and maintenance of coastal parks and beaches from Torrey Pines Beach to Sunset Cliffs Park.
Qualifications: Desire to help maintain quality of beaches and coastal parks. Groups must provide own supervision; Time Commitment: One-time basis, or “Adopt A Park” (clean every 3 months).
Habitat Restoration Volunteers. Work with park ranger staff in removal of non-native plants, transplanting natives, and fencing of sensitive areas.
Qualifications: 16 years or older; good physical condition; able to perform strenuous physical tasks; enjoys working as a team.
Time Commitment: 4 hours/day; mostly weekends, available to large groups.
Trail Crew. Work with park ranger staff in building and maintaining trails and installing fencing, signage, water bars, and steps.
Qualifications: 18 years or older; good physical condition; able to perform strenuous tasks; enjoys working in a team.
Time Commitment:, 1 day/month; 4 hours/day; mostly weekends.
Group Volunteer Opportunities include:
Special Projects/Special Event Group Volunteers. Assist with special projects and special events at recreation centers citywide. Volunteers can provide pre-event assistance as well as assistance on the day of the event and after the event. Group opportunities exist in a variety of areas from designing, painting, and building game booths and Haunted Houses, to timing races at a swim meet. Note: Groups must provide own supervision; groups of children must have adult supervision.
Time Commitment: Discretion of group
Grounds Maintenance Group Volunteers. Assist in cleaning and maintenance of parks, playgrounds and recreation centers citywide.
Qualifications: Desire to help maintain quality of public parks. Groups must provide own supervision; groups of children must have adult supervision.
Time Commitment: Discretion of group; may be on a one-time basis, or “Adopt A Park”.
The April 15, 2010 dead line for the Budget and decision on Management of the Public Fire Pits has just passed. “Save San Diego Fire Pits” activists are still in the process of receiving the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) from Park and Recreation on how often they clean the fire pits in order to write a plan. The decision on the correct process and Standard Operating Procedures for Volunteer is the Mayor’s and City Council’s decision to make.
On obtaining the SOP, Activist Katheryn Rhoades says: “We are getting no where fast.”
So, the fire pits at our beach are hot – stayed tuned for more – but go ahead and commit to being a volunteer and adopt a pit, and attend the Town Council meeting on the 28th.
A big tip-of-the-hat to Point Loma activist Katheryn Rhoades