SOLANA BEACH — Residents who were unable to be included in the original Fletcher Cove Park donor tile project will have another opportunity to leave a lasting impression in the area.
The city will remove what City Engineer Mo Sammak described as the “dull, typical concrete and stucco” retaining wall at the northeast corner that separates the park from the community center. At the March 10 meeting, council members authorized an agreement with local artist Betsy Schulz to replace it with a mosaic art wall.
The proposed wall, which will be about 40 feet long and 2 feet high, will be built with colored concrete and textured to match
the existing seat wall in
the park. Designed by Councilman Mike Nichols, a landscape architect, it will have a wave shape on top and include the words “Fletcher Cove.”
The tiles will be designed, fabricated and installed by Schulz, who did the existing walls at Fletcher Cove. Unlike that project, city staff will handle all applications and tile placement, which will be chosen by random selection, City Manager David Ott said.
“This will be a staff-controlled initiative, unlike the previous time,” Ott said. “Staff will take all requests … to make sure everything is fairly allocated.”
The wall will accommodate between 40 and 50 tiles that will be available for $700 each. The project cost, estimated to be $21,100, includes $1,400 to demolish the existing wall, $4,900 to build a new one and $14,800 to create and install new tiles.
Additionally, a 14-square-foot area of the boardwalk that was recently removed to repair damage to the storm drainage system will be replaced with tiles. Five donor tiles for $700 each or one large tile for $3,000 will be sold for that area. Project cost is estimated at $2,200.
Any funds raised over the cost for both projects will go toward the current renovation of the community center.
Council members unanimously supported the new wall but some were concerned about the cost, which is $200 more per tile.
“This is kind of pricey from my perspective,” Councilman Tom Campbell said. “I think it’s great. I love the concept. But we’re perhaps pricing it so some people just can’t afford to do it that would like to do it.”
“We want to make sure we pay for it,” Ott said.
Campbell also suggested limiting the number of tiles purchased.
“There should only be one tile per family so someone can’t buy six in a row and create a monument to themselves,” he said, adding that first priority should be given to those who don’t already have a tile.
Councilman Dave Roberts said he heard complaints about tile size and placement in the previous project. “But I just don’t see why we’d want to limit it,” he said. “This is a different project. It’s a different location, and it will be more handicap accessible.”
Mayor Lesa Heebner agreed that $700 is pricey, but “it’s a more prominent location,” she said. Heebner also reminded everyone that the community center project is being completed through the efforts of volunteers and their donations.
“And I’ve never heard one person complain about the location of their tile,” Heebner said. “I think it’s kind of neat to walk around the park and take a look at all the variety of locations.
“Sometimes, chance is just what it is,” she said.
“We’re all trying to help the city,” Councilman Joe Kellejian said.
Depending on the number of tiles purchased, priority may be given to residents who weren’t able to be included in the first project.
Contact Wendé Protzman at (858) 720-2439 for more information or to purchase a tile.