By Matthew Wood
The city has given an extension to Phase II of the Ocean Beach Entryway Project, meaning the plan is to have the project done by the end of 2014.
It was originally scheduled to be finished by the end of this year, but budgeting problems threatened to entirely derail the plan.
“But hopefully it will be done much sooner than a year,” said Tom Perrotti, president of the Ocean Beach Community Development Corporation. “We’re happy that the city is pursuing it.”
“That project has been going on for many, many, years, and this is the last piece of it,” he said.
Perrotti said he was notified “within the last week” of the delay to the final phase of the project, which he says will be the end of a years-long push to improve the look of the entrance to OB. It includes completion of what is known as Gateway Park, a stretch of land that connects Robb Field to Sunset Cliffs Boulevard.
According to the OBCDC website, the total cost for the second phase of the project is $219,000. But that number doesn’t seem to be an accurate assessment of the project’s actual costs.
A letter sent to Perrotti last month by James Nagelvoort, the city’s Assistant Director of Public Works, said the bidding process for the project yielded only one contractor.
“My goal was December, but I couldn’t control bids received,” said Elif Cetin, a civil engineer at the City of San Diego Engineering and Capital Projects Department and the project manager. “I knew how much we had, but we can’t control the bid process. I think it was the scale of the project that didn’t attract bidders.”
She said they were hoping to get the funding approved by the City Council in February and have the project completed by the summer.
When it is done, there will be a path down the hill to Robb Field, as well as enhanced paving, a retaining art wall with tiles and seashells and an enhanced crosswalk on Sunset Cliffs and West Point Loma boulevards.
“Our goal was to finish it by the end of this year,” Cetin said. “We went with a job order contracting (JOC). Now we identified impact fees. We have to bring it into the project.”
Town Council president Gretchen Newsom expressed her frustration with the delay of the project.
“We’ve been promised for many months that they were going to break ground in October and then be done no later than year end,” Newsom said.
A post on the OB Town Council website announcing the project’s delay says, in part:
“… (I)n the final hour, we have been informed that the Project is delayed – this is largely attributed to the poor performance of the City Project Manager – which by the way, is the SAME project manager responsible for the Brighton Comfort Station/Bathrooms which took more than 3 years to complete. The City has made promises that this project would be completed. The City should not break their promise to our community and should complete this project before year-end.”
This is the same park area that the OB Rag and Green Store organized a clean-up at over a year ago due to city and community neglect.
Just how long has this been going on? There are two signs at the bottom of the hill adjacent to Robb Field – the area that included the final phase of the project. One is a sign with information about the project which says the total cost is $435,037. It also lists Gerry Sanders as the city’s mayor. On the other sign is a quote from Councilman Kevin Faulconer that says “We did it!” That has been tagged over by graffiti.
Taking the high road when asked about who was at fault for the delays, Perrotti said he was just happy to have the project move forward.
“It doesn’t help anybody to blame anyone. The community just wants to get it done,” he said. “If you want to blame anyone, blame the bureaucracy of a democracy.”
Here is the conceptual design plan: