From OB Planning Board Project Review Committee Meeting of May 16th, wherein the “Ocean Beach Master Plan” is renamed “Waterfront Enhancement”, and more …
Last Wednesday evening, the Ocean Beach Planning Board Project Review Committee met at the OB Recreation Center. It’s worth noting the first change to the agenda was item#1, originally entitled the “Ocean Beach Master Plan”. At the onset of discussions, it was requested by the submitters to rename the agenda item as “Waterfront Enhancement”. The new proposal was discussed too briefly, and it is expected to grow as additional projects are developed.
Currently, the plan lists a series of important and independent projects around town. A new committee has been formed around these efforts, and they are requesting additional members join them from the community at-large. The newly formed committee has several important tasks, as they work together to develop and submit more formal plans and proposals intended to modernize the legacy of our waterfront areas and reshape our “funky” OB imagery.
Among the projects being developed are a wide variety of new proposals and designs for the OB waterfront. New construction would improve aesthetic, safety and security features of some high traffic public spaces, while further enhancements would redefine pedestrian areas and walkways, and modify long-standing structures around our most popular beach front spaces.
Lifeguard Tower and Parking Enclosure
Projects for several signature art pieces and community landmarks are being discussed, not the least of which are plans to securely enclose the life guard encampment to provide safe equipment and vehicle access during emergencies, and continue to provide parking for the existing 10 employee spaces.
Surrounding the tower structure, a new fence line would enclose the three borders of the campus which currently remain open to pedestrian traffic. A secure, enclosed campus reduces public hazards and provides street access for emergency vehicles via an automated gate system, along with re-painting the pedestrian crossing at Abbott Street and Santa Monica.
Various elements of the plan would slightly expand the tower’s southern property line, extending the property by about 43 inches at the southern end of the proposed tower encampment area.
New Pedestrian Soft Paths
A new pedestrian soft path traverses the proposed southern fence line, and somewhat redefines the grassy spaces. This path would enable access between the beach and shower areas to the Abbott Street sidewalk.
A second soft path would connect the beach areas at the lifeguard tower to Dog Beach in the north.
Additional presentations were made for greening the tower structures and installing a solar-power array, along with plans for a new sculpture dedicated to our lifeguards and the memory of a band of lost soldiers who were reported to have drowned along our beachfront more than 100 years ago.
Two new sculptures, new stairways, wall tiling . . . and more!
In some ways the most impactful of these planned “visualizations” might be the addition of two new sculptures, one piece being located along the new soft path, near the twin palms and lifeguard tower encampment.
Enlarged images were circulated during the meeting depicting the youthful bronze model of a poised and ready lifeguard, red suit and blue swim fins in hand. Some folks seemed to question the subject matter, which was described as an “interactive” artwork where tourists might pose for self-styled vacation photographs. Most agreed some type of dedication is appropriate and could be presented for our highly effective and time-honored lifeguards.
The momentum behind the bronze piece seemed motivated by private donations and organizers who have earmarked enough funds to cover the expenses of creating and mounting the piece. Additionally, the artist is a former OB native now living in Colorado. As briefly explained, none of the funding for the statue we examined would be obtained from the proposed $200,000 worth of tower and campus modifications.
It should be noted that no further information was provided as to any intended statue mountings, nor were any specific dedications presented, and the exact nature and dedication stories seemed mixed and details were inconclusive.
New “ob” Sign Models Presented
Several sample models for a second sculpture were presented as possible replacements for the termite-infested sign which marks the entrance to Ocean Beach. The existing sign is deemed to be beyond repair, and it is currently located on the East side of Robb Field at Sunset Cliffs Blvd. For this, a new “ob” sculpture (two lower case letters) has been proposed which could be up to 15 feet tall. New “OB” lettering and font would replace the classic OB-styled font, as currently seen throughout the city on various signs which mark the business district, beach areas, and parks. The proposed entry piece may or may not be lit each night using stored energy from a solar array which could be installed nearby. Again, details were sketchy throughout this limited presentation.
Two New Pier Stairways?
Several larger scaled projects would create two stairways connecting the pier entrance to the boardwalk, below. The existing staircase will be replaced with a new design which descends to the walk, below, and where a breach in the wall is envisioned to enable beach access from the boardwalk, under the pier. A second, spiral staircase is proposed for the pier connecting the boardwalk to the pier entrance, above. This circular stairs would ascend from the boardwalk, located on the north side of the pier where the pump house currently resides. Among other statements we heard, the stairs are being proposed to provide better visibility and security for pedestrians walking along the boardwalk to the pier.
Join the Committee
These are only a few highlights from the proposal and ensuing discussions. For example, brief mention was made for replacing the sign on Sunset Cliffs Blvd at Newport Ave which announces our business district. Though it was not presented, this sign is one of four matching signs, each one using the same theme, including the classic “OB” font and bird. Though the business district is marked by a second sign located on the south-east corner of Newport and Sunset Cliffs Blvd, some feel the district is not readily identified, hence a new sign is being proposed.
Of those ideas not presented, one suggestion briefly floated would add custom tiles lining the sea wall from south of the pier and ending at the north end near the life guard tower. In future meetings, these and other projects are likely to be proposed and developed prior to any formal submissions to the council.
Regular meetings of the Design committee of the OB Main Street Association are held at 8:30AM on the first Tuesday of every month, at the OBMA. This committee is being assembled and will further develop more detailed models and samples of each project.
To ensure your voice is heard, please consider joining the Design committee to provide your input and feedback for these projects.