By Marlena Medford
The Del Mar City Council approved changes to the design plans for the new Beach Safety Center at its June 20 meeting.
The change to the existing contract with Jeff Katz Architecture calls for the storm drain channel located between the lifeguard station and the Del Mar Hotel from Coast Blvd. to the beach outlet to be covered. The current drain channel is thought by many to be unsightly, as it tends to be a collection spot for litter. This modification would beautify the project, and create an improved access walkway to the beach.
The Friends of the Powerhouse, which is helping to fund the Beach Safety Center project, commissioned a hydraulic study of this channel to determine if the change was feasible. That study ultimately determined that covering the channel would cause no impacts to drainage or flow in the area.
“We’re very excited about covering the ditch, which is really an eyesore for anyone who walks by it all the time,” said Friends of the Powerhouse President Barbara Harper, adding that at one recent fundraiser an anonymous donor pledged $50,000 toward the project after hearing that the group was working to cover the channel. She also added that this improvement to the design plans would likely help a great deal in community fundraising efforts, as it’s an idea that’s generated “a lot of excitement” among residents.
The Del Mar’s lifeguard station was built in 1964 and, with it falling deeper into disrepair, raising money for a new facility has become a front-burner mission for the community and city council.
The entire Beach Safety Center project is anticipated to cost approximately $2.5 million. The Friends of the Powerhouse has committed to funding one-third of the entire project. The recent sale of the Balboa Lot will cover $700,000 and a grant from the Coastal Conservancy will cover another $650,000. The remainder will come from city funds earmarked for the project.
This project will go out to bid this summer, and construction could begin as soon as September. The anticipated completion for the new Beach Safety Center is slated for May 2012.