Solana Beach continues work on tot lots

La Colonia de Eden Gardens celebrated its centennial in 2021.
(Luke Harold)

The Solana Beach City Council approved a $12,000 increase to a contract with an architectural firm on July 13 for the ongoing work on the La Colonia tot lot.

The city’s agreement with the firm, Van Dyke Landscape Architects, is now worth a little more than $173,000 for the design of the relocated drainage swale and the retaining wall between the swale and playground equipment at the tot lot, according to a city staff report. The original amount was about $161,000.

For the record:

10:08 a.m. July 20, 2022This article originally said that the additional work was to help accommodate more swings, but did not note that the City Council decided against the swings in favor of exploring more shade structures at La Colonia Park.

The contract is part of a plan to renovate the tot lots at La Colonia Park and Fletcher Cove. The additional work was originally to help accommodate more swings, which had been mentioned during previous council discussions regarding new design options for the tot lots. But council members decided against incurring nearly $100,000 in added construction costs for those swings. They will instead consider adding additional shade structures at La Colonia Park.

The lot at Fletcher Cove was installed in 2007.

“It’s subjected to quite a bit of coastal elements that degrade it over time, and it’s in need of replacement,” Solana Beach City Manager Greg Wade said. “The La Colonia tot lot was constructed in 2000 and is outdated and also needs to be replaced.”

A questionnaire showed that residents primarily want a “whimsical look,” “garden look” and “non-traditional look” at La Colonia. At Fletcher Cove, they indicated support for “beachy,” “non-traditional” and “whimsical.”

One of the goals for the upgrades at the Fletcher Cove tot lot, according to a city staff report, is to add more play infrastructure that appeals to children of all ages. Some residents expressed concern that the proposed design was not as accommodating to younger children.

Residents had also said that the existing design at Fletcher Cove mostly appealed to younger children.

The city’s fiscal year 2022-23 budget included $375,000 for design and construction of the Fletcher Cove tot lot and $436,000 for the La Colonia tot lot, not including $161,628 that has already been appropriated for the design of the two lots, according to city staff. The city also has about $186,000 in funding from a Proposition 68 California State Parks grant for La Colonia tot lot.