Future Brightens for Ocean Beach’s Dusty Rhodes Park

by on July 31, 2017 · 20 comments

in Ocean Beach

Dusty Rhodes Recreation Council Addresses Concerns

By South OB Girl

The above looks like a photo of a tree on a dreary day in a cold winter climate.  But guess again.  It is a photo of a dead coral tree on a recent warm summer day at Dusty Rhodes Park.

More dead trees. All photos by South OB Girl

There are a number of dead coral trees at Dusty Rhodes.  Just sitting there dead, with their bare branches stretching into the sky and looking even more like pieces of coral than if the trees had leaves.  The trees are old and break easily in stormy weather.  They don’t fare well in a drought or in storms.  And also don’t fare well if they aren’t watered.  Watering of the grass and trees at Dusty Rhodes Park were stopped this year due to the City’s drought restrictions.

If you thought the Dusty Rhodes Recreation Council was a bunch of folks with no agenda who like to take their furry friends to the dog park.  Guess again.  This group is very serious.  And means business.  The council has in fact been in place for 30 years.

The dead trees, dead grass, and gopher holes truly are a sorry state to see at Dusty Rhodes Park.  And the Dusty Rhodes Recreation Council is doing what it can to change that.

Dusty Rhodes Rec Council gets down to business.

The mission of the council is to make the park what they believe it really ought to be and to hold the City accountable for the care and maintenance of this public park.  Dusty Rhodes Park is actually part of Mission Bay Park, but the council feels like the park gets the back seat and gets treated like a neglected and unloved step child.

The council is optimistic about improvements at the park and things are looking promising.  The disrepair of the park occurred while service was contracted out to Aztec Landscaping.  That 1 year contract has now ended and Parks and Rec is currently in the bidding process.  In the meantime, City staff is in charge of maintaining the park.

Since the contract with Aztec just expired at the end of June, a few improvements are now starting to happen.  Park goers are quite pleased to now find dog poop bags in dispensers provided by the City throughout the large and small dog parks.

Two weeks ago the City started its standard process of extermination for gophers and the number of gophers and gopher holes should be on the decline over the next couple of weeks.  This process of extermination is used at other parks in San Diego including Robb Field.  The gopher holes are not only unattractive but dangerous.  And it is very easy for people and dogs to trip in the holes and twist or break an ankle.

Monica Honore, area manager for City Parks and Rec here in Ocean Beach, debriefed the council on everything she has been doing on her end to address the issues at Dusty Rhodes Park and she encouraged people to email her with any issues and concerns.  Or you can go see her in her office at the Rec Center on Santa Monica.  Take pictures and send them to her.  Document the disrepair and gopher holes.  Report incidents.

She handed her card out at the meeting and the following is her contact information: Monica Honore, (619) 531 – 1528.  MHonore@sandiego.gov

Dusty Rhodes Council Chairperson Erika Ripley at head of table.

Dusty Rhodes Council Chairperson Erika Ripley discussed putting $5,000 of the council’s own funds towards the purchase and care of some new trees ($5,000 would cover the purchase of 6 trees and approximately 3 years of maintenance of the trees).  Despite wanting new trees, the council tabled the issue.

$5,000 would be about 40% of the council’s budget and Jim Nickel of the OB Recreation Council suggested being more financially cautious and preparing a more detailed fiscal proposal with actual numbers as well as fundraising plans.

Ripley is pleased that she was previously able to reduce the landscaping contract from 5 years to 1 year.  With the poor performance of Aztec, the end of the 1 year contract enables the City to now seek a new company.

Ripley also discussed a three pronged approach of combined effort with the OB Town Council, OB Recreation Council, and Mission Bay Recreation Council.  Ripley hopes meetings with those councils will generate additional support for Dusty Rhodes Park.  The council has so much business in mind and is protesting the conditions at Dusty Rhodes Park so strongly — that a camera man for News8 filmed the meeting and interviewed Ripley when the meeting adjourned.

What is particularly refreshing to see is that this is a situation in which the voice of local citizens has been heard.  Protesters gathered back in May to instigate change at Dusty Rhodes Park.  And those changes are starting to happen.  There is still work to be done but the future looks a little brighter for Dusty Rhodes Park.

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Debbie July 31, 2017 at 1:27 pm

Stop watering the trees-whose brilliant idea was that? How about stop paying the mayor, council and staff under they start thinking of the taxpayers and residents?

Ms. Honore should visit the parks on a daily basis and see what is happening. She always says contact me, send me pictures etc. but nothing changes. Nice person but not effective.


South OB Girl August 2, 2017 at 12:28 pm

Good points Debbie — thank you!!


kh July 31, 2017 at 5:54 pm

Thanks, I didn’t have enough things to resent the city for.

Judging by the sad condition of that park, I’m honestly surprised to learn there is a citizens council, let alone a paid city employee overseeing it.

And unless Mrs. Honoré live in the cellar below the rec center, she probably drives past Dusty Rhodes every day.


Jon Carr July 31, 2017 at 7:06 pm

I had an opportunity to walk through the park last weekend with some members of the rec council. It truly is in a state of disrepair. I don’t personally spend much time in the park, and was somewhat ignorant regarding the issues the park is facing. After seeing it firsthand, I think it’s a challenge that should be of interest to every civic-minded OBcean. One of the more discouraging things to see was a dying tree that hangs over the plaque dedicating the park to Dusty Rhodes. It was a visual that perfectly, and depressingly illustrated the parks current condition. As one local volunteer explained, “this is our front porch.”


South OB Girl August 1, 2017 at 11:00 am

Thank you, Jon. Glad you were at the park for a tour. It will take the efforts of all civic-minded OBceans like you to keep an eye on things and work towards change.


OB Joe August 1, 2017 at 8:37 pm

Thanks Jon Carr – I’m glad you’re back takng a more visible role in the community.


Jeffeck August 1, 2017 at 1:14 pm

I live right off Dusty Rhodes Park and I have to tell you the problems there are plenty.

I got home from work last Thursday and realized I missed the meeting of this committee. Please publicize the next meeting date and I will make an effort to attend

Several years ago, the city repiped and paved the intersection of West Point Loma and Nimitz. They laid the heavy pipes and drove their heavy equipment over the right side of the entryway to DRP and I suspect they did some severe damage to the irrigation pipes under the ground. That may explain why they dont want water that side of the park. The trees are truly dying and there used to be grass etc along Nimitz and the park entry way. You would think the Pt loma Association would be upset as it is their entry way as well. It is all turning back to dunes.

We have a yucca tree that we asked Parks and Rec to trim as it obscures our view of the water and homeless hide their belongings behind it and use it as a restroom rather than go across the park and use the facilities. They refused to trim or remove it. I value the foliage but not if it devalues our property or community.

The dog parks had bag dispensing boxes that were emblosed with the logo sponsored by OB Dog Wash. They are rarely fille. has that arrangement ended?

I cannot attribute all the problems to Aztec. The park was watered and trash emptied. Sprinklers go off at weird times sometimes though. So if there is anyone who can provide better service, I welcome it.


South OB Girl August 1, 2017 at 4:48 pm

Not sure there was ever an official arrangement with OB Dog Wash. So the empty containers are there… thank you for all of your comments here. The next meeting of Dusty Rhodes Rec Council will be in 2 months and The Rag will post a notice about the meeting closer to that time.


OB Joe August 1, 2017 at 8:35 pm

I remember when the entire triangle was just one huge sand pit. South OB Girl – thanks for keeping us informed.


editordude August 1, 2017 at 8:38 pm

The OB Rag facebook version of this post has a whole host of negative comments, mainly complaining the $5000 should not go to trees but be used to get rid of the homeless.


Mike Ryan August 2, 2017 at 10:14 am

As a daily visitor of the small dog park at Dusty Rhodes I find this update illogically optimistic. Fact: according to a local city park worker every time the city cries drought they automatically cut back on watering dog parks. Ironically San Diego is always in a drought – we live in a coastal desert!
Fact: on any given day the two Dusty Rhodes dog parks are actively being enjoyed by dogs and humans – however I estimate the rest of the park is used maybe 20% and yet is constantly being watered to keep it green and full.
Fact: by not properly watering the dog parks we pet owners end up wasting more water washing our pets because of the dirt they attract.
Unfortunately this story by South OB Girl left out an important detail: Dan Dennison who serves on the Ocean Beach Planning Board gave an impassioned and detailed report to the Dusty Rhodes park committee that disputes so called bright future.
I am frankly feed up with deplorable conditions at our dog parks e.g. constant gophers, horrible weeds with burs that stick to our pets and nasty dirt!
I am calling out the city to DO SOMETHING and quit the BS. As a tax payer and former OB Town Councilman and PCPB member I’m mad as hell – our dogs deserve better. Now for all the asinine anti-dog park people please feel free to counter my claims – it doesn’t matter what you say – we pet owners know the truth.


South OB Girl August 2, 2017 at 12:23 pm

And Yes, Mike — Dan Dennison did an admirable job of obtaining specific metrics re maintenance of Dusty Rhodes Park, via the Public Records Act. And shared that at the meeting. And we can visually see what may be to some readers even more upsetting than the metrics. The dead grass. The dead trees. The gopher holes. The homeless. The furniture bits throughout the park. The obvious neglect by the City and Aztec.


South OB Girl August 2, 2017 at 12:06 pm

A better title (under discussion)… would have been “Some progress — but hopes still
dim — for Dusty Rhodes Park. Rec Council concerned the City will continue its neglect and hands off approach.”


South OB Girl August 2, 2017 at 12:15 pm

The photos of dead trees and dead grass should hopefully speak to readers as loudly as the article. Additional points of concern — a new park at the Portuguese Hall? The efforts at Saratoga Park? The Dusty Rhodes Park Rec Council would like to see Park and Rec efforts focused at Dusty Rhodes Park — the gateway to both Point Loma and OB.


South OB Girl August 2, 2017 at 12:26 pm

Adding one more comment here:
Dan Dennison of the OBPB did an admirable job of obtaining specific metrics re maintenance of Dusty Rhodes Park, via the Public Records Act. And shared that at the Dusty Rhodes Park Rec Council meeting. And we can visually see what may be to some readers even more upsetting than the metrics. The dead grass. The dead trees. The gopher holes. The homeless. The furniture bits throughout the park. A deplorable condition. The obvious neglect by the City and Aztec. Am pleased a number of readers are eager to attend the next Dusty Rhodes Park Rec Council meeting (which will be in 2 months).


Debbie August 2, 2017 at 3:12 pm

All of the parks in this city are in trouble. Why is there not automatic funding/budgeting every year built in for each park and building the city owns?…(like an HOA for a condo). The Mayor is ultimately responsible!

The next downturn in the economy will require closure or sales of parks because the city does not maintain them. See this info:



South OB Girl August 2, 2017 at 10:30 pm

thank you again, Debbie. And thank you for this news link. Wow.


kh August 2, 2017 at 10:08 pm

The community organizations and private donors funding new or upgraded parks better think long and hard about what will happen when left in the derelict hands of Park and Rec.

Read the story of Spaulding park at Sunset Cliffs, history is repeating itself.

Perhaps a better focus would be on shaking up that department. Can the mayor be blamed for it all, or is the Park n Rec director the problem?


South OB Girl August 2, 2017 at 10:46 pm

Thank you, ‘kh.” Excellent points. Quite a few OBceans would most likely be quite pleased with a new Director of Parks and Rec. Quite a few would also be happy with a new mayor.


South OB Girl August 2, 2017 at 10:42 pm


Thank you to ‘Debbie’ for sharing this link
in a comment above. This recent news (Aug 1, 2017) will unfortunately not put many of our local Rec Councils at ease. Let’s hope the City doesn’t conduct another multi-million dollar fiasco in Balboa Park.


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