Ocean Beach Planners: Schlageter Continues as Chair, Updates on OB Library, Parks and Pickleball?

by on April 9, 2021 · 3 comments

in Ocean Beach

By Geoff Page

While there were no projects to review on the OB Planning Board’s, Wednesday, April 7 meeting agenda, two things that matter to almost everyone, libraries and parks, were.

There was a presentation by the San Diego Public Library Foundation, or SDPLF, on its efforts to revise the citywide library master plan.

There was also a presentation by the OBPB’s parks subcommittee that contained a well detailed inventory of the parks in and around OB with ideas for improvements.

City of San Diego Library Master Plan

It is important to first understand the entities involved with the library system, for folks who are not intimately familiar with the system. The system is owned and operated by the City of San Diego. The SDPLF is a private, non-profit corporation based in the Central Library downtown. It has the following on its website:

“OUR MISSION

The Library Foundation strengthens communities by supporting excellence in the San Diego Public Library system through philanthropy, advocacy and outreach.

OUR VISION

The San Diego Public Library Foundation is a catalyst for creating stronger communities through investment in the San Diego Public Library system — where access to resources supporting literacy, work readiness and lifelong learning ensure equal opportunities for success. We raise funds, build collaborations and honor our patrons and donors.”

And, then there is the Board of Library Commissioners. Here is what the city’s website says about this group:

“The Board of Library Commissioners consists of seven members appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council. Each member serves a two-year term. The Board is responsible for considering all policy matters regarding the development and operation of the City’s Library system and serves in an advisory capacity to the Mayor and City Council. Each member serves until reappointment or until a successor is appointed.”

SDPLF representative Patrick Stewart made the presentation about the Library Master Plan, describing what had been done to date and the plan ahead on the job of rewriting the city’s Master Plan. According to Stewart, the first step was to engage two consulting firms in 2019 to assess the library system across the city. This detailed assessment, over a six-month period, was provided to the Library Commissioners.

The next steps included a number of things, one of which is a survey that is currently open for comments but only until April 17.  This survey has had considerable advertisement and has been open since February 17.

Stewart stressed that they are at the community outreach phase now and described the various ways they are seeking public comment. The survey is on-line and can be found here.

Listening to the presentation, it was very clear that the SDPLF has made a major effort to include almost everyone in the city in the effort to revise the Master Plan.  The outreach effort appears to be quite comprehensive.  Anyone who has an interest in the library system should have a look at the survey.

Naturally, the subject of the OB Library came up with a question about progress on the long-awaited expansion project.  Misty Jones, Director of the San Diego Library department, explained the design is underway and is being done in-house by the city.

That was, unfortunately, the only good news. Her next comment cast cold water on that good news when she said:

“we asked for reallocated funding to be included in this next year’s budget to finish that plan over the next fiscal year. So that we will have a completed design. And be shovel ready when the funding is made available. The next phase is identifying the funding for the project.”

Translated, this means they do not have dedicated funding to even finish the design. If the funding is not approved in next year’s budget, the project grinds to a halt. And, even if funding is approved, the design may not be done until the middle of next year. The result will be a completed design looking for the money to build what it shows.

Parks

The OBPB created an ad hoc Parks subcommittee to review and discuss proposed improvement to the parks in and around OB. The subcommittee had its first meeting in May of 2020.  This group of volunteers produced a very detailed report titled “Community Requests for Increased Park Amenities and Recreational Spaces in Ocean Beach.”

This was a very well done, professional appearing report that contains ideas for improving the available park space, some of which already has a history of improvement ideas and efforts such as Veteran’s Park and Saratoga Park.  that included written information and graphics about the following parks:

  • Veteran’s Park – Abbott and Newport: The original Veteran’s Park plan has been scaled back due to cost, which will please some people, but it will still contain dedications to veterans.
  • Saratoga Park – End of Saratoga Ave. at the beach: At one time, there was an elaborate design for Saratoga Park that did not meet universal approval. The concept now is to retain the mostly grassy area and add a tot lot and an exercise area in one corner.
  • Ebers Street Park – corner of Ebers and Saratoga: The Ebers street park has gotten a good deal of attention because it is frequented by very young children.  There is a safety concern at the park so the ideas there include things like fencing and lighting.
  • Collier Park – Corner of Greene and Soto streets: Collier Park is currently a large expanse of grass with two picnic tables and a horseshoe pit at one end. The subcommittee included ideas such as expanding the picnic area and “specialty recreational amenities” such as bocce ball.
  • Spray Street/Dog Beach – Grass areas adjacent to parking lots at Dog Beach the end of Brighton
  • Robb Field
  • Dusty Rhodes Park: The suggestions for Dusty Rhodes park had a lot to do with improving maintenance and accessibility but also included ideas such as a soccer field and a playground area with a substrate.

During the discussion that followed the presentation, it was pointed out that Collier Park was within the boundaries of the Peninsula Community Planning Board and that Robb Field was out of the OBPB’s jurisdiction. The subcommittee acknowledged that but believed all the parks were part of the community as a whole. This reporter goes to Collier daily and can say from experience that people come from all over OB and Point Loma to this neighborhood park.

The presentation should be reviewed by anyone with interests in the area parks and the subcommittee welcomes comments and ideas.  The full presentation can be seen here.

Pickleball

A professional pickleball player, Stephan Boyland, presented a proposal to to convert the tennis courts at Robb Field into 36 pickleball courts.  What is pickleball?  Here is how Wikipedia describes it:

“Pickleball is a paddleball sport (similar to a racquet sport) that combines elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis. Two or four players use solid paddles made of wood or composite materials to hit a perforated polymer ball, much like a wiffle ball, with 26-40 round holes, over a net. The sport shares features of other racquet sports: the dimensions and layout of a badminton court, and a net and rules somewhat similar to tennis, with several modifications.”

This game is allegedly “exploding” in popularity al over the world. According to one website, the unique rules “favor players with less mobility and allow senior players to compete successfully with younger competitors.” A picture of four senior types playing the game confirmed that as one guy was playing in sandals.

Boyland and his partner Mike Shinzaki, also a professional player, propose to handle the changeover and to manage the operation.  Boyland claimed that the Robb Field tennis courts are woefully underused and suggested that the nearby Barnes Tennis Center could easily absorb the tennis users from Robb Field.

The OBPB has no jurisdiction over Robb Field but could lend support to the proposal if it goes forward to the city.

Other news

  • The city is still assessing the damage to the pier.
  • The idea of maintaining the outside dining in the streets is being discussed at the city.
  • There may be a vendor ordinance proposed to city council by this summer, a long time coming.
  • There will be a sort of Street Fair this year minus food and booths and chili with the focus being on existing businesses.
  • Funding to finally replace the stairs to the beach on Bermuda and Narragansett has finally been approved.
  • The OBPB hopes to have its first live meeting in August if the stars keep aligning as they are.
  • The OBPB certified the election results, the new and current members can be see on the OBPB website; Melanie Boda was the only brand new member of the Board.
  • And the OBPB elected its officers. Andrea Schlageter will continue as chair.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Avatar Chris April 9, 2021 at 11:07 am

I played pickleball a couple times and it’s fun. Not sure I can say it is “exploding all over the world”. It’s kind of like paddle or platform tennis. If the tennis courts in Robb Field are truly being underutilized, I’m not sure converting them to pickleball courts will make much if any difference but who knows? Here’s a clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFYyij4ykTI

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Avatar Geoff Page April 9, 2021 at 11:26 am

I had never heard of it, Chris, I had to look it up after the meeting. That’s where I got the exploding comment, from a site devoted to the game. The guy did not present any information to support the idea the courts are underutilized, seemed all he had was anecdotal. I believe the courts have to be reserved to use them, so the information should be there.

Thanks for the video, that really explains the game easily. I can see why it would be appealing. Starts out with a tennis type serve and then becomes a big game of ping pong. No a ton of moving around as they said. They may have something here.

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Avatar Chris April 9, 2021 at 2:56 pm

It would be cool if it happens (putting in pb courts).

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