La Colonia enters final design phase

SOLANA BEACH — With a unanimous vote at the March 11 meeting, City Council entered into an agreement with Van Dyke Landscape Architects for final design improvements at La Colonia Park and Community Center.
Three conceptual design proposals were presented at the Dec. 9 meeting. Council members selected the one favored by residents and law enforcement, but requested modifications.
Those changes, which were all incorporated in the most recent design, included murals and other art elements, additional seating and adjustments to the Heritage Museum as requested by members of the Solana Beach Civic and Historic Foundation.
Van Dyke provided cost estimates to complete the project in two phases. The first phase, which features a skateboard plaza, artificial turf for the playing field and all other exterior improvements west of the community center, is estimated to cost $1,447,034.
Phase two will include improvements to the east side of the park such as the community center and a relocated parking area. With an expected cost of $2,937,917 for the second phase, the entire project comes in at almost $4.4 million.
No decisions about how to fund the contract for final design have been made, however, redevelopment agency money is being considered as one potential source, Steve Didier, assistant to the city manager, said. Council members said general fund money will not be used.
Although the final plans added picnic-table seating throughout the park, Councilmen Joe Kellejian and Tom Campbell were concerned about seating around the soccer field, basketball court and skate plaza.
“There’s a potential for all kinds of activities to take place,” Campbell said. “It looks really neat (but) to sacrifice seating (to make it look neat) you’re going to find yourself shortchanged in the future.”
Mitch Phillippe, principal with Van Dyke, said according to their estimates, the project provides adequate seating, but more can be added.
“From what I’ve heard from community members you were very open-minded, you listened very well (and) took every comment to heart,” Mayor Mike Nichols said to Phillippe. “You took the time to listen and really design something I think we will all be proud of once it’s built. I think that this vision is what the community was asking for.”

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