Report of Workshop on Point Loma Pocket Park

by on August 1, 2017 · 5 comments

in Ocean Beach

Authors Felt It All Was an Enlightening July 26th Workshop on Avenida de Portugal Park

By Jon Linney and Don Sevrens

Our thanks to the more than 100 persons who attended the Portuguese Hall workshop July 26, on our coming pocket park on Avenida de Portugal.

Everyone who chose to speak or ask a question was allotted two minutes.  The views expressed ran the gamut, and answers to probing questions were enlightening.  All present appeared to learn something, including landscape architect firm KTU&A, which was told the park needed to be special, not mundane.

City project manager Mark Calleran said the budget is funded at $1.16 million and the completion date is projected at summer 2020.

Kevin Oliver, project officer for Public Works, said two sources of information are readily available on the city’s website:

  • Consultant’s Guide to Park Design and Development.  [This runs about 119 pages and goes into great detail as to what types of material are or are not allowed, safety measures and such. Much of the material does not apply to pocket parks.]
  • A list of all capital improvement projects for the City of San Diego.

[You can filter the list by council district (in this case click on 2), project # (S16047), project working name (Canon Street Pocket Park) and asset (parks). Then click on filter.]

Steve Riddle, chair of the Point Recreation Council which is the lead agency in handling the workshops, said the next workshop will be at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday  Sept. 19.  That workshop also will be at the Portuguese Hall, 2818 Avenida de Portugal.

KTU&A had not started a conceptual plan, pending input from the public at the July meeting. In addition to input via comments and questions, attendees indicated their preferences for various possible park features on a 1-5 scale and attached stickers to photos of their favorites. At the next workshop in September attendees will be able to see the conceptual plan (or possibly alternates) and indicate which plans or portions they like.

Here are some of the major points made, which we’ve formatted into a Q and A:

Q:  What will be done to the sandstone bluffs on the Canon Street side and the side below residences on Addison?

A:   Current thoughts are to leave the bluffs undisturbed. [One neighbor suggested it would be better to thin the dying acacia trees and put in some plants or trees that would hold the soil better.]

Q: What will guide placement of features?

A:  In part, a desire to take advantage of harbor views.

Q:  What would you residents like to see in the park?

A:  [From various individuals] imaginative children’s play areas but definitely NOT the slide/swing/jungle gym sets; some picnic tables, trash containers, resting spot for bikers and walkers, storm water retention and recognition of the neighborhood’s history and culture. Also sail shades to complement the young trees.

Q: What about public art?

A: Christine Jones of the city’s Commission for Arts and Culture explained that a piece of public art will be on a separate but concurrent track. Negotiations are underway with a finalist artist and the public will get to meet the individual in the fall.  A concept of the proposed piece in keeping with the park theme will go through the formal and public approval process.

Q: Will there be a fence along Canon Street?

A: Yes, either fencing or landscaping.

Q:  How about parking spaces?

A:  None are required. Pocket parks typically do not have parking.

Q: Which will be the primary entry?

A: From Avenida de Portugal.

Q: What about homeless?

A: A number of residents said there are none living at the park, no buildings or features to attract them, and that transients or homeless typically stay in the shadows and avoid public places. Residents of bluffside homes across Canon said they have unobstructed views of the park and that unacceptable behavior can easily be reported to police.

Q: What do residents want in play equipment?

A: A parent and city planner said neighbors definitely do not want prefabricated, mail-order play structures. They want minimalist and imaginative play objects.

Q: Will there be lights?

A: Probably pathway lamps.

Q: Trash pickups?

A: Daily.

Q: Park hours?

A: To be determined.

Q:  Alcohol?

A: To be determined.

One  audience member asked why does a city need any parks, anyhow? He was immediately rebutted by a leader of the Portuguese community who said they have been wanting a park for decades. A mother with a two-year-old son in tow said it is very important to have small parks close enough so that children and parents can walk to them for play dates.

One neighbor introduced into the record a vision of park features  — not THE plan, not THE official plan, not THE only plan – but an idea of what could be and something  commissioned by neighbors to jog the imagination of the KTU&A designer. The full-color vision includes such plant choices as tipuana trees, fruitless olive trees,  strawberry trees and Hong Kong orchid trees. It show winding  decomposed granite trails and carex pansa and dymondia ground covers.

Hardscape features include shade sails, a history wall, donor wall, stepping stones, an adult conversation pit in the shape of a compass and children’s play features such as a San Salvador replica, an elevated trex plank walkway and balancing playground. The vision was drawn by landscape entrepreneur Shawna Kenny.

When we first approached Park and Rec in July 2014, they warned us we were taking on a five- or six-year project. Well, they were right.

All in all, there is a lot to think about from the first workshop. KTU&A will be busy between now and Sept. 19.  See you then.

Here is their earlier report from June.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Geoff Page August 1, 2017 at 12:47 pm

I attended this meeting and I will be submitting my account, which will be very different. The main item this story skipped over twas the budget and I will have something to say about that. The original budget everyone was told was the $840,000 in developer fees that were dedicated to this park, a story unto itself. But, as one line in this story says, the budget is now $1.16 million, an additional $320k is coming out of the city budget for this little park and the questions is why.


Dude August 1, 2017 at 6:10 pm



Geoff Page August 1, 2017 at 7:33 pm

Dude, 40% inflation?


Jon Linney August 1, 2017 at 2:38 pm

Mr. Page

I’m not surprised. What is it you having the biggest hatred against me and everthing I do? You are foolish to deny it, people can see it.


Geoff Page August 1, 2017 at 2:54 pm

Mr. Linney, I do not hate you, I don’t hate anyone except for the current blob sitting in the White House. You assume too much. And this post wasn’t about you, it was about the park meeting. If you wanted to chime in, why not explain the forty percent increase in the cost of the park? Provide some information and keep your ego in check.


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