The Solana Beach City Council gave the preliminary thumbs up on plans to redesign La Colonia Park, which will include an expanded community center, skate plaza and enhanced gathering spaces.
"Option three is the way to go, a phasing approach is the way to go," council member Lesa Heebner said. "Let's go look for some money."
After more than a year of listening to community input, Van Dyke Landscape Architects presented three design options to the council on Dec. 9 for review.
The overwhelming favorite of the community and the council was the most elaborate, expensive version, in which a large plaza creates a defined and welcoming entrance to the park from Valley Avenue.
It is estimated to cost about $4.4 million, which at $1.1 million per acre is comparable with the amount spent on Fletcher Cove Park.
The plaza would replace the existing parking lot, and the Civic and Historical Society Museum would be moved to the southeastern corner of the property.
The community center would expand 1,000 square feet with an entrance facing the plaza.
This option also includes a small skate plaza, which mimics the stairs and rails skateboarders currently use illegally in the park.
The plans also include a full-size half basketball court and call for improving the grass field, which will be shortened to 85 percent of a regulation size soccer field.
The tot lot will be improved, and picnic tables and barbeques will be scattered throughout the park.
A gazebo and the war memorial will be placed around the entry plaza to accommodate community events.
Parking will be reconfigured as a one-way lot wrapping around the residential buildings adjacent to the park. This will add five more spaces and provide better visibility for public safety personnel.
"We're happy with what you came up with," Deputy Mayor Mike Nichols said. "You have the bones of something, now it's really time to put the heart into it ... make this not feel like this could not be plopped down in any town USA, but it really belongs to Solana Beach."
Council member Tom Campbell cautioned the community to not get carried away.
"We have to have a pretty darn solid plan how we're going to fund it or it's going to get a lot of dust sitting on the shelf," Campbell said.
The council asked the landscape architects to return with a finalized plan with more details and the requested information early next year.
They also asked for a phasing plan and a timeline for documents preparation, so the city can jump on funding opportunities.