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Parked cars line Olympus Street on May 25 next to Olympus Park in Leucadia. Photo by Grant Kessler
Community Community Encinitas Sports

Neighbors speak out against Olympus Park

ENCINITAS — Despite the growing popularity of Leucadia’s newest park, some residents living nearby are speaking out against overcrowding, obscene behavior and safety hazards.

Since the opening of Olympus Park in early May, many have enjoyed the park’s numerous attractions, including a skate park and zipline. However, neighborhood residents have described something far less appealing — parked cars obstructing fire lanes, public urination and loitering on private lawns.

Jordan Stockholm, a longtime Piraeus Street resident, fears his neighborhood has been plunged into a seemingly irreversible change. Stockholm recalled one particular incident when his wife was verbally abused for asking teenagers not to ride their e-bikes through the park section designated for younger children.

“My wife spoke up and said ‘Hey, please stop.’ They got in her face and there were four of them standing there yelling obscenities at her,” said Stockholm, who was speaking with his wife on the phone at the time of the incident and told her to “run.”

“And someone on the phone heard me say it and said, ‘Yeah, run you b—’.”

Stockholm has reached out to the city multiple times requesting parking enforcement and even the removal of the skating feature, fearing that it attracts unruly individuals.

“I wish my little boy felt comfortable now wanting to go to this amazing park but after he saw his mom being verbally attacked, he was afraid,” said Stockholm. “I’m not asking the city to tear the park down. I’m asking them to do the right thing and solve the immediate problems.”

Other neighbors have reported similar concerns to city officials, such as parkgoers urinating in driveways and bushes and bullying in the area surrounding Olympus Park.

“They’ve come in here with no respect to anyone around them. I’ve heard cursing, I know there are some issues,” said Brandi Pullman, a neighborhood resident. “It’s just a bummer to see these kids act this way. Where are the morals and the values?”

Opened on May 2, the Encinitas City Council was enthusiastic to open what it had labeled a passive-use park. Passive-use parks are self-managed, designed for a smaller population and typically lack features such as designated parking and public restrooms.

“The top portion of the park is for more passive use and the bottom area is for more active use,” said Pat Piatt, a city spokesperson. “The park followed the preferred design concept that was approved.  The park is new and attracting many visitors at this time. The city will continue to monitor the use of the park. At this time, the city is not considering any changes to the skate element.”

But Stockholm said the passive-use designation and a lack of public restrooms have only created problems for homeowners in the area.  Stockholm believes the park has become too popular without the proper infrastructure or design to handle it.

“The park was designed as a passive neighborhood park,” said Stockholm. “And they told us in the city meetings that they’re purposely not putting bathrooms because of the passiveness. They don’t expect anyone to stay long enough to need a restroom.”

“Well, if that was the case, this past Sunday I wouldn’t have caught two people in my yard — one woman squatting and another man I caught before he started peeing.”

A man uses the bushes across from Olympus Park as a restroom. Photo by Grant Kessler

Since opening, the park has employed a security guard seven days a week in an effort to maintain safety, according to Piatt.

On May 21, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department began parking enforcement around congested fire lanes on Olympus Street in response to several residents’ complaints. The enforcement will remain in place until August 21.

Following the restrictive new signage, visitors have taken to parking along Piraeus Street, leaving a dangerous blind spot for cars on Olympus turning south onto Piraeus.

“There wasn’t anticipation that this would be a problem when this was built,” San Diego Sheriff’s Lt. Matt Blumenthal told The Coast News. “The worst part of it was that the city built a really nice park. I think because of that, as well as just things like the e-bikes, it becomes a congregational area for people to hang out.”

2 comments

tomsoundmusic May 30, 2021 at 4:25 pm

What we have learned from the overwhelming numbers of visitors to orpheus park is that Encinitas has only one solution, that is to fulfill it’s legacy to become the premier surf/skateboard town in America. Lucky for Encinitas to have an opportunity to achieve a title with cultural historical significance, make no mistake there is no other avenue to greatness for Encinitas. Surf/skate culture will always be the strongest heartbeat of this region so it’s time for Encinitas officials to get a clue and act accommodatedly starting with a 5-10 million dollar revision to the failed design and utilization of the Encinitas community park. Two better three of the baseball diamonds be converted to the largest skateboarding complex in America to include lights and open til 10pm with bathroom facilities plentiful, no exceptions.! This completed project will alleviate enough of the traffic from Orpheus park, a great relief for those effected residents. Encinitas officials its time to get moving and consult local hero TONY HAWK on park design and SKATEPARKS USA for construction. This project is a quaranteed success, not opened up for communal debate, fastracked without environmental impact review (sue us later if you dare) . City officials will spare no expense to assure the best skatepark in America resides in Encinitas. Any cries about money concerns go unheard since the Tony Hawk foundation will fund half if not all of this project anyways. The destiny for Encinitas is cemented in stone by skatepark concrete and realized with the ribbon cutting ceremony by city officials to an overwhelming applause from the large local crowd in attendance. Make it happen!

nc4concern May 30, 2021 at 11:23 am

The Recreation Element from the General Plan. Read it and memorize it. The council, the city manager, Pamela Antil, the development director, Lillian Doherty none of them read the Recreation Element. Restrooms are discouraged for neighborhood parks. Parks should be passive. Just grass, a few swings and a slide. Time to tear out everything but the grass and start over.

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