Potential Funding for Ocean Beach Lifeguard Station Study in New City Budget

by on May 25, 2017 · 1 comment

in Ocean Beach

OB main lifeguard station – photo taken a number of years ago.

At Wednesday night’s Ocean Beach Town Council meeting, the representative from Councilwoman Lorie Zapf’s office, announced that there is potential funding for an assessment study for a new lifeguard station for Ocean Beach.

Conrad Wear told the assembled audience that Zapf’s office has determined that there is a sum of $200,000 available for a preliminary engineering assessment. And at a recent San Diego City Council Infrastructure Committee meeting, Zapf’s motion to allocate the $200,000 to begin the design process for a new OB lifeguard station – as part of the 2018 budget – was unanimously approved by the committee.

Wear was pressed by this reporter on the likelihood that the lifeguard station study budget item would be approved by the full council when they begin making decisions at the first budget hearing on June 5th, and his response was very positive. Zapf’s office anticipates that it be passed as part of the overall city budget. If funded, the study would take about 6 months, he said, and added that the full funding cost for a new facility is not known.

Yet, this is definitely good news for OB.

Local residents, businesses and community groups have been pressing the city for a new lifeguard station for  years. As part of the village’s wish list of infrastructure improvements, a new lifeguard station has been up on the top end for a good while. It’s on the needed infrastructure list in the new Ocean Beach Community Plan and it’s brought up anytime anybody asks for ideas of what to improve in OB. There has been anecdotal comments from individual lifeguards over the years on just how dangerous the current station is.

Just last week, members of the OB Town Council stood before city council and advocated for a new station. Representing the OBTC, president Gretchen Newsom stated:

This project is consistent with the Ocean Beach Community Plan and is a long time advocated need within the community and by community based organizations.

The Ocean Beach Lifeguard Station was constructed 40 years ago and has lacked adequate improvements and renovations.  The popularity of Ocean Beach has also grown and just last year, Ocean Beach Lifeguards performed over 1,000 water rescues.

Additionally, Lifeguard staffing along Sunset Cliffs was increased due to demand. While these Lifeguards positions were funded in this year’s budget, they have put an increased strain on equipment and locker needs at the existing station. The current station is inadequate to accommodate this additional staff and equipment.

A new Ocean Beach Lifeguard Station will result in a more effective deployment of lifeguard personnel and equipment, therefore improving the safety of the public.  It will also improve our public restrooms and shower facilities which are used by thousands visitors and tourist every year. As part of the project, we also envision San Diego Police Department facilities to support their welcomed presence in Ocean Beach.

In an email to the OB Rag, Wear gave more details about the study:

This design process is considered to be preliminary engineering which is standard for all capital improvement projects and is needed after so many years of stagnation.It will help to narrow the scope, schedule and budget for the entire project by analyzing the operational needs of a new facility through engaging our Public Works staff in conversations directly with our Lifeguards and SDPD.

Among other things, it will review the additional amenities of a new station which may include, but are not limited to, new bathroom facilities, SDPD office space/facilities, a preliminary environmental assessment and ADA review.

Perhaps most importantly, it will raise the priority of the project and help it to receive future funding and continue progress unlike in past years.

Wear asked members of the OBTC and the audience to attend the June 5th 2:00 pm budget hearing in Council Chambers in city hall to show support for the life guard station.

If funded, according to Zapf’s office, “a much more detailed design effort will include community workshops which will follow the completion of this initial preliminary engineering phase of the project.”






{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

South OB Girl May 28, 2017 at 11:21 am

Could we have a little of that $200 K to build stairs to Bermuda Beach?? The lifeguards would like those stairs too.

For example: if Sea World is called to Bermuda Beach for a sea lion rescue the lifeguards have to participate because Sea World can’t get up and down to the beach. To my knowledge this hasn’t been a major issue but at least once in the past year Sea World was called (and the beached sea lion did swim away, which doesn’t always happen). Getting down to Bermuda is so hazardous the lifeguards have an interest in the safety issues at Bermuda as well.


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