When California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law the state’s new $308 billion budget on June 30, a small slice of it was set aside to repair a crumbling staircase that leads to the ocean from Camino de la Costa in the Lower Hermosa neighborhood of La Jolla.
The staircase has been crumbling for years, to the point that the concrete is crumbling and the rebar is rusting.
“It really is a mess and it’s been a mess for a long time and it’s only going to get worse,” local resident and planner Trace Wilson told the Bird Rock Community Council at its July 5 meeting.
As part of this year’s budget, the state will provide the City of San Diego with $2 million for the Camino de la Costa viewpoint coast and beach access project, which could be used to repair the stairs.
From there, Wilson said, “the stairs need to be updated and brought up to date. But it will be up to the community to move it forward. »
Wilson said he would work to develop a concept plan to present to area planning groups and then deliver to the city for implementation.
So while completion is still a long way off, “it’s a huge step forward to know that money has been allocated for the effort,” Wilson said.
If repairing the stairs cost less than $2 million, Wilson said he wanted to use the excess funds to improve access to the gazebo for people with disabilities.
Securing the funds has been an emotional rollercoaster for people seeking to get the driveway repaired.
“We started this process a year ago when we invited city officials to see the stairs and…show them that the historic concrete rails are a mess,” Wilson said. “Everything is falling apart and the rebars are coming out. It has to be rebuilt.”
In January, Councilman Joe LaCava, whose District 1 includes La Jolla, released a memo as part of the city’s budget process listing the replacement of the Camino de la Costa stairs as a funding priority.
“We were so excited at the prospect of the stairs [repair] get funding,” Wilson said. “I told all the neighbors; everyone felt good there. »
However, the project was ultimately not included in the city’s final budget.
Instead, LaCava worked with state senator Toni Atkins to get money from the state budget.
Discussing the process at the DCRO meeting, LaCava field rep Steve Hadley said Atkins “really takes care of us. … The State works on its budget at the same time as the city. State officials may come to us at this time of year and say, “Do you have a project [we can help fund]?’ and they let us know when there is money available…in the budget. This is exactly what happened here.
Atkins recommended that the project be funded by the state Department of Parks and Recreation. When the state budget was signed, funding for the work of the Camino de la Costa came with it.
Wilson said the state response was “really encouraging.” For a project of this scale, he added, “$2 million is a lot of money.”
Hadley said that figure was agreed based on the cost of similar projects on the coast.
“At the end of the day, it’s coastal access for everyone, and La Jolla is a regional destination for San Diego,” Wilson said. “This is fully in line with the idea of making the coast accessible to everyone. The state has done a good thing by focusing on these amenities. ◆