What’s in a Park’s Name? OB’s “Saratoga Park” Not Recognized by City

by on June 12, 2015 · 4 comments

in Environment, History, Ocean Beach

OB Saratoga Park pre-demo

OB’s Saratoga Park – at the foot of Saratoga, April 2014.

Report of OB Community Development Corporation Meeting, July 11, 2015

by Lois Lane

OB CDC 6-11-15 01The OB CDC meeting was called to order by the President, Tom Perrotti. Other board members in attendance were Steve Grosch, Dave Martin, Brian Pottenger, Steve Haynes, Jane Gawronski, Paris Barrowclough, and Jim Musgrove. Two other members of the community attended, a representative from the OB Town Council, and Bev McCalla, an OB CDC volunteer who was acknowledged for her work on the Veteran’s Plaza Project. Your reporter was also there. No representatives from our elected political office-holders were present.

OB CDC logoThe main topic was the Adult Fitness Stations/Children’s Play Area for Saratoga Park. The request has been made to the County Board of Supervisors for a grant, but the outcome is at this time unknown.

What exactly is Saratoga Park? To try to fit this into the overall scheme of things, the city Parks & Rec web-site is not very enlightening. Saratoga Park is not on the list of parks.

San Diego has two Recreation Parks in Ocean Beach: Robb Field and the Ocean Beach Rec Center. Both have Tot Lots. The other existing Tot Lot playgrounds are at Dusty Rhodes Park and Bill Cleator Park.

In addition, Ocean Beach currently has access to these nearby parks:

  • Regional Park – Sunset Cliffs Natural Park.
  • Community Parks – Point Loma Park, NTC Park, Plumosa Park, Collier Park & NativeGarden, Dana Middle School Joint Use , and Cabrillo Mini Park North and South
  • Other Parks – Ocean Beach Leash Free Park (Dog Beach), Ocean Beach Elementary Joint Use (Bob Kenny Field), Ocean Beach Pier, Ocean Beach Park, and ShorelinePark.

But no Saratoga Park.

It does, however, sort-of exist.

When the question was raised with the OB CDC, additional information was provided by Mr. Perrotti. The area was first designated by Byron Wear years ago when he was a City Council Member. Mr. Wear currently favors the name “Ruth Varney Held Park” for the area instead of “Saratoga Park”, in honor of the author of the well known book about Ocean Beach history, “Beach Town: Early Days in Ocean Beach.” If funded, the grant will cover the cost of a site survey.

Why is the name important?

The name is important because funding is allocated to park by name, parks are managed by name within the Parks & Rec organization umbrella, and other laws (such as Alcoholic Beverage restrictions) list parks by name.

At the moment, our OB Saratoga Park is an orphan. One might think that the first step in improving Saratoga Park would be to obtain a designation from Parks & Rec for Saratoga Park. The people who are planning it seem to know where it is.

Finally, the Board entered “closed session” to discuss Veterans Plaza, with members of the public excused, so there is no news to report on this issue.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

OB Mercy June 12, 2015 at 4:31 pm

I think you mean June 11, for the meeting date, not July.


Cholly June 13, 2015 at 7:01 am

First thought seems to be a need for landscaping to mitigate the adjoining concrete building. Trees, -if they are not view blocking-, are thought to benefit the global warming trend. Trees certainly benefit property values. I take it that the park people don’t consider Shelter Island, San Diego River Park, Cabrillo National Monument, numerous pocket parks, beaches and trails, Old Town State Park, Presidio Park and Spanish Landing, as parks as they are under the aegis of different governments, and therefore not parks. San Diego, and particularly the Peninsula, should lead the pack ; if for nothing else their property values. Thanks for rocking the boat. George Marston, John Nolan and Albert Spaulding are no doubt very very proud of you


South Park June 13, 2015 at 10:02 am

Did the FREE (yaay!) beach parking lot at Saratoga ever get repaired? According to a story from Jan 2012, the lot was in terrible shape.
At that time, the district manager for Park and Recreation Department’s Developed Regional Parks Division (Shoreline Parks) was optimistic about acquiring funds to repair the potholes, but I don’t know if that ever happened.

In Park&Rec’s FY 2015 Facilities Financing Section budget, the greenspace at the foot of Saratoga is deemed to require $856,216 in unidentified funding, for tots and fitness buffs.

Here’s something else that is interesting: Up to 100 people can obtain a ministerial development permit in Ocean Beach Saratoga Park.

From the city’s website (note especially the last sentence):
“The Development Services Department is also the primary City department responsible for managing the ministerial permit review process. Ministerial permit review is utilized for projects designed and built in conformance with the adopted community plan designation and underlying zone. Ministerial review requires review and approval only by City staff and other governmental agencies. These types of projects (i.e. building permits) typically are not subject to public review or participation prior to final approval.”


obracer June 13, 2015 at 10:20 am

If I remember correctly this area we call Saratoga Park is part of Ocean Beach Park on the Community Plan update map.
Saratoga Park describes the location more accurately.


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