DEL MAR — After nearly 10 years of planning, the city broke ground Oct. 3 for the 17th Street beach safety center, which will replace the decades-old lifeguard headquarters that has been described as an eyesore, inadequate, tired and deteriorating.
“It will be a happy day when that disappears,” Councilman Mark Filanc said.
Since the existing facility was built in 1964, the city has grown and lifeguards have taken on more responsibilities, Councilwoman Lee Haydu said.
In addition to annually serving 2 million beachgoers, the department has expanded its range of community functions, she said.
The new 2,644-square-foot facility will include lifeguard space, administrative offices, new restrooms and a garage area. A walkway from street and a sea wall will also be added.
The approximately $2.7 million project is primarily funded by a $700,000 windfall from the sale of a city-owned lot on Balboa Avenue, an additional $450,000 from the city, a $650,000 grant from the California Coastal Conservancy and $770,000 from Friends of the Powerhouse.
Mayor Don Mosier said it was the city’s public/private partnership with Friends of the Powerhouse that helped secure the full grant amount requested from the Coastal Conservancy.
“We’re a mighty group and a loud group sometimes, but we get things done,” Barbara Harper, president of the organization, said, adding that she never ends a speech without saying, “We need more money.”
Naming opportunities from $1,000 for a boardwalk plank to $1 million for the entire building are still available. Visit www.friendsofthepowerhosue.org for information.
Construction is expected to be complete in June 2012. In the meantime, the 20th Street tower will serve as lifeguard headquarters and two rooms at the adjacent Del Mar Hotel will house administrative and staff offices.