SOLANA BEACH — If all goes as planned, construction could begin this summer to transform the aging Fletcher Cove Community Center into a fully accessible, LEED-certified facility.
City Council unanimously agreed at the June 23 meeting to complete all necessary steps to obtain a California Coastal Commission permit, hold a public hearing, award contracts for the first two phases and proceed with fundraising.
Several of the improvements are necessary to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Currently, no part of the 1-acre site, including the building, is accessible to the disabled.
With the completion of phase one, which is mostly grading that is expected to take a few months, about half the site will be accessible. Funding for that has been secured.
If all fundraising goals are met, the city hopes to award a contract this fall for phase two, the building refurbishment, which is expected to take about one year.
The upgrades will include removing asbestos siding and making the kitchen, restrooms and doorways fully accessible. Views will be maximized by adding west-facing door systems that open to the patio area and allow more sunlight into the building.
Low-maintenance materials that can withstand weather will be used, as will a rainwater collection system, photovoltaic roof panels, low-consumption toilets, roof insulation and energy-efficient windows.
“Right now the target we’re aiming for is a silver rating from the U.S. Green Building Council,” said Stephen Dalton, a designer who has donated his time to the project.
“I feel confident saying that we are firmly in the silver and if we play our cards correctly we can potentially get gold,” he said.
Phase three, which is still in the conceptual stage, is the southern edge of the property adjacent to Fletcher Cove Park. It will include lower landscaping, park access, winding paths and benches.
The community center is a former Army barracks that was moved to its present bluff-top location in the 1940s. In March 2007, the city ranked each of its 15 facilities in order of priority for modifications to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Fletcher Cove ranked second.
Funding is being provided by the city and through public and private donations. At the beginning of the June 23 meeting, the Solana Beach Civic and Historical Society presented the city with a $15,000 check for the renovation project, bringing that group’s total donations to $25,000.
That money was raised through the annual holiday boutiques and from sales of two books about Solana Beach by Jim Nelson.
The city is also receiving offers from people who want to donate time and materials. Santa Fe Christian Schools offered to prepare the site prior to the beginning of work. Other community members who can provide licensed, qualified labor have volunteered their time and talents.
The Coastal Commission is set to discuss the project at its July 9 meeting. Tina Christiansen, community development director, said the staff is recommending approval.
A mitigated negative declaration was available for public review from March 4 through April 5. No comments were received. It is still available for review on the city website and will be presented to council at the July 14 meeting.
At that time, City Manager David Ott will also update council members on the project budget and donations received so far.
“We’re getting very close,” he said.
“Our hats are off to staff and all the volunteers who worked on this project,” Mayor Tom Campbell said. “This looks like something that’s really going to happen.”