Ocean Air funding possible

Money allotted in proposed SD budget

Ocean Air Recreation Center might get funded after all.

Mayor Jerry Sanders made room in his proposed budget for maintenance and staffing of the new center, which had been expected to open in September. City Council still has to approve the budget; they have until the end of May to do so.

“It was a big relief because we’ve kind of been working in limbo,” said John Barker, program chairman of the Ocean Air Recreation Council.

Barker said the council had even been looking into alternatives of who could run the center if the city could not.

With the funding in place they can focus on the fun stuff, Barker said, such as accepting bids from potential program contractors.

Get going

“We want to get going as soon as possible,” Barker said, noting that they are looking not only for interested contractors but they also want to hear from residents about what kinds of programs they want at the center.

The parks’s construction is essentially complete, with only a short list of items left on the actual structure, said Kris Shackleford, a senior city civil engineer. The city will now focus on the grass on the fields, which will be used in cooperation with neighboring Ocean Air School.

Seeding is scheduled to start this week, Shackleford said. They had to wait for some warm weather to grow the Bermuda-style grass.

‘Something for everyone’

The reviews of the new park have been glowing, Barker said.

Covering 17 acres at the end of East Ocean Air Drive, it features a 16,000-square-foot recreation center. Its mosaic stonework façade matches the bluffs on its far border that mark the edges of the Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve. A lookout point is under construction where people will be able to admire the canyon view.

The park will have lots of grassy open space as well as a shaded picnic area.

Two shaded play structures in front of the center have a child-friendly spongy ground surface as well as sand and a climbing rock.

Inside, the center has two large activity and meeting rooms, a kitchen and a gym with room for four basketball courts as well as badminton and volleyball. The gym’s shiny court is already in place.

Fans and players

Outside the two baseball backstops are already up as well as bleachers for fans. In the corner is a lit, outdoor basketball court.

The park is surrounded by a path--a nicely landscaped, meandering loop that will be great for exercise, Shackleford said. It’ll also provide a path for Ocean Air students to walk or ride bikes to school.

“There’s really something for everyone. It was really nicely thought out by the designer,” Shackleford said. “I’m sure it will win awards.”

Interested contractors can e-mail the Ocean Air Rec Council at Program suggestions are also welcomed.