Kevin Faulconer Breaks Ground on Ocean Beach ‘Gateway’ Project

by on December 14, 2010 · 27 comments

in Culture, Environment, Ocean Beach, Popular

By Brittany Bailey/Special to the OB Rag

Click to see larger image

Shortly after eleven am this morning, District 2 Councilmember Kevin Faulconer broke ground on the Ocean Beach Gateway Project. The event featured speeches by Councilmember Faulconer, Interim Director of the Engineering and Capital Projects Department Tony Heinrichs, and Brian Pottenger, President of the Ocean beach Community Development Corporation.

Councilmember Kevin Faulconer and Giovanni Ingolia, Chair of the OB Planning Board.

Councilmember Faulconer began by thanking the community for their perseverance in seeing the project through. Special thanks went to Mayor Jerry Sanders, The Ocean Beach Community Development Corporation, the Main St Association, the support of the community. Faulconer states on the city-released Media Advisory “I want to thank the residents of OB for their can-do spirit and their patience. I also want thank the Ocean Beach Community Development Corporation for its hard work in bringing this project to fruition. Many Obecians are looking forward to the development of this entryway, which will beautify a corner that has sat vacant for several years.”

The project will take the asphalt parking lot at the corner of Sunset Cliffs and West Point Loma and turn it into a plaza courtyard and pedestrian friendly entry to Robb Field. The plaza is also meant to signify a “Welcome” to the motorists, cyclist, and pedestrians entering the Ocean Beach Community.

The project plan diagram outlines an enhanced crosswalk spanning Sunset Cliffs and West Point Loma, a courtyard plaza with specialty concrete, native landscaping to include palms and shade trees, various opportunities for public art including “art stands”, braille wall, art walls, a public drinking fountain, bike rack, and a shell art plaza. According to Councilmember Faulconer, the plaza will also feature raised garden beds and community benches.

As noted by Engineering and Capital Projects Department Interim Director, Tony Heinrichs, this project has been in the works since 1999, and will be a “facelift the area desperately needs.”

Ocean Beach CDC President Ryan Pottenger followed up on the thanks and praises by Councilmember Faulconer and Heinrichs by again commending the advocacy of past CDC presidents, and the continued support of Obecians.

Construction is set to commence this month, with projected completion dates by February 2011.

All photos by Brittany Bailey.

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

dave rice December 14, 2010 at 3:44 pm

My favorite part was the disorganization during the photo op where Kevin kept trying to get people to put on the hardhats…narrowly surpassing the 5 minute delay in getting started because the NBC 7 film crew got lost trying to find the main entryway to Ocean Beach.


Brittany Bailey December 14, 2010 at 3:54 pm

Yes, I thought all the hardhats were there so they could put them on. I was disappointed they just held them- would’ve made for better photos :)

I have to laugh at the NBC truck getting lost- all my doubts about actually needing a “welcome to OB” for motorists is now dispelled.

Hopefully after the plaza is built, people will be able to find the entrance to OB. I know for me, sometimes it feels like going down a rabbit hole ;)


Patty Jones December 14, 2010 at 3:59 pm

Rabbit hole! LOL Welcome, Brittany, to the OB Rag!


Brittany Bailey December 14, 2010 at 4:09 pm

Thank you, Patty!


dave rice December 14, 2010 at 4:23 pm

Oh yeah, welcome! And nice pics – liked the one with the hardhats all hanging on the shovels in a pile of pre-softened dirt they used a Bobcat to bring in and neatly line up…the fluffery of things like ‘breaking ground’ on a development or throwing the ‘first pitch’ of a baseball game amuses me.


OBWarZone December 14, 2010 at 4:21 pm

your artilce is better, especially the pictures.


OBWarZone December 14, 2010 at 3:59 pm

I drove by 30 minutes later and nobody was around. Check out some of the UT comments on their page, they broke the story first.

Any word on if the right turn lane will be closed, or if this will affect traffic?


Brittany Bailey December 14, 2010 at 4:12 pm

Yeah, the whole thing lasted about 20 minutes– including waiting around time.

I’m bummed the UT got the story published first, I was having email problems. My photos were too big :(

From the diagram it looks like the existing lanes aren’t going to be impacted. They’ll use the corner lot exclusively. The diagram says the crosswalks are going to be “enhanced” though- I wonder how they plan to fancy them up? Maybe they’re giving the existing crosswalks implants? Or just small facelift?


Patty Jones December 14, 2010 at 4:15 pm

You know, OBWarZone, I don’t know about the turn lane but I did go and look at the UT article. I have to say I feel bad for Christopher Cadelago. To write an article about something so neutral and to have all the hateful comments underneath…


OBWarZone December 14, 2010 at 4:20 pm

people think OB is dirty? that is crazy. ;) Oh well….but what was said about the Newport Ave tiles is true. Dirty & broken. I’d love to find out why…..


Abby December 14, 2010 at 4:27 pm

Yes! OB is dirty, awful and drug and crime ridden! No one should come here! Please stay away, for your own safety!


Brittany Bailey December 14, 2010 at 4:34 pm

Yes, it’s probably not safe for yuppies :) It’s the last bastion of anti-gentrification in San Diego- there is only ONE Starbucks- Oh my!


ss December 15, 2010 at 8:18 am

I would agree not a safe place


Brittany Bailey December 14, 2010 at 4:29 pm

At least the comments aren’t personally attacking the writer, but I agree. It seems like the comments on the UT are often negative and degenerate.

I think the comments on the other article really reflect the disillusionment of our city and the country as a whole. People feel like they see more and more government spending on things they feel are superfluous, while infrastructure problems like potholes and social problems like the homeless in OB go unsolved.

Honestly, I think politicians get blamed unfairly many times simply because they’re a convenient scapegoat. It’s easy to demonize a politician and peg them as “other”, when really the social problems we have, or the issue of the OB beach community being “dirty” or a “cesspool” is reflection of cultural norms that conspire to freeze a community that by any other standard, outshines other areas of San Diego in terms of true community involvement.


Frank Gormlie December 14, 2010 at 4:45 pm

Very astute observation. Great pics, Brittany, and good post. Yes, welcome to the OB Rag! Dear Readers – this is Brittany’s first post, first photos – and first comments – on our website.


Richard December 14, 2010 at 5:07 pm

“native landscaping to include palms and shade trees”

Native Palms?? There are no native Palms! They are invasive nonnative trees that ruin native habitat. Couldn’t they pick responsible landscaping using our Native flora? Who decides these things?


Frank Gormlie December 14, 2010 at 5:20 pm

Richard, just as an aside, there is a native palm tree in So Cal , the Washington Palm, which is native to So Cal, Mexico and SW Arizona.


Brittany Bailey December 14, 2010 at 5:21 pm

From my understanding, the architect.

The “native landscaping” verbage was on the media advisories issued by the city, but I think what they meant was semi-water resistant landscaping; I didn’t think they were planning on decorating with coastal scrub.


JEC December 14, 2010 at 10:48 pm

I believe there are native palms – I’m pretty sure Palm Spring (singular) and Palm Canyon are natural. Might check with Jim Wright, past president of the Palm Society. But what shade trees?


Frank Gormlie December 14, 2010 at 11:40 pm

JEC, I agree. Here, something from an authority:
“There are 2,500 species of palms worldwide, with 11 native to North America. The largest of these, and the only palm tree native to western North America, is the California Fan Palm. It is also known as the Desert Palm and the California Washingtonia. It should not be confused with the Date Palm.”

The California Fan Palm does not produce dates, but does fruit elliptical black “berries” about 1/2 inch in diameter. These berries have a very large, brown seed surrounded by a thin, sweet pulp, which native Americans ate fresh or dried. They also ground the seeds into flour. Hooded orioles and coyotes feast on the seeds as well, aiding the palms’ proliferation.

Groves of the rare Fan Palm can be seen in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, near Palm Springs and Joshua Tree National Park in California, and near Yuma, Arizona.

Native American Use

The California Fan Palm was an important resource for the Cahuilla Indians of Southern California, who called it maul. They used it for food, especially the fruit/nut which they ground up as flour or made into a mush. They also soaked the fruits to produce a sweet beverage and made jelly from the fruit. Trees produced a dozen or so such date clusters at 5-20 lbs. each.

The spongy pith in the center was sometimes boiled and eaten and was called maul pasun or “heart of the palm.” The Fan Palm was also used for construction (fronds for roof thatch), and leaves were stripped and used in various weaving applications.

The hard seeds that fell after fruit pulp dried were the preferred fill for gourd rattles and were better than stones or other seeds. The Desert Cahuilla also preferred the Fan Palm for making sandals and certain fire making tools as well as tinder were made from this palm.

The original California Fan Palm oases were important gathering and habitation sites and were indicative of important springs, usually located along earthquake faults. Some of these included Thousand Palms, Palm Canyon and Andreas Canyon.


Charley December 14, 2010 at 5:11 pm

While nice, beautiful, pretty, and , I must ask why are we adding infrastructure that needs maintenance & upkeep when the city can’t afford to maintain firepits at the beach ? I know a lot of people put effort into this, but is it funded through philanthropic generosity or will the city be seeking additional revenue ?
Last I heard we couldn’t afford police, fire, or (gasp) the city pension fund.
Just my two cents.


dave rice December 14, 2010 at 5:45 pm

Just my opinion, but I’d rather have had a pizza parlor there. Since that venture was scrapped, even though I agree that this seems like a bit of a waste given that only part of the money was generated through private fundraising I’d still rather have a park than an ugly empty lot and half the foundation of a demolished pizza parlor.


Shane Finneran December 14, 2010 at 10:24 pm

Thanks for the informative article and pics, and also the graphic at that the top that shows what the park will look like.

I’m happy to see this project moving forward!


Citizen Cane December 14, 2010 at 10:50 pm

I see it connects to future bike paths. Anybody know the timeline for that?


Sarah December 15, 2010 at 9:35 am


Great article, but I have become your fan from a comment you just posted:

“Honestly, I think politicians get blamed unfairly many times simply because they’re a convenient scapegoat. It’s easy to demonize a politician and peg them as “other”, when really the social problems we have, or the issue of the OB beach community being “dirty” or a “cesspool” is reflection of cultural norms that conspire to freeze a community that by any other standard, outshines other areas of San Diego in terms of true community involvement.”

Welcome to the Rag!


Brittany Bailey December 15, 2010 at 10:15 am

Thank you, Sarah and Ragsters, for your warm welcome :)


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