The Solana Beach City Council continued to discuss options for upgrading the tot lots at La Colonia and Fletcher Cove parks during a Sept. 28 meeting.
“I know it took a little extra time and extra money, but this is something that is going to be in our community for a very long time,” City Councilmember Jewel Edson said.
The La Colonia tot lot, constructed in 2000, and the Fletcher Cove tot lot, constructed in 2007, have both experienced a lot of wear and tear from daily usage, weather and other factors. The city contracted with Van Dyke Landscape Architects to work on the proposed design for the renovated tot lots.
Some of the elements include an image of a whale on the ground.
“This design was developed to play off the existing shapes of the area and to complement the existing structures with the seat walls,” said Kaitlyn Porter, a landscaper designer with Van Dyke.
Council members had originally discussed adding more swings at La Colonia Park, but instead decided to add additional shade structures with trees.
“At our last council meeting that we attended, it was stated that trees were the preferable option, so we went fully for trees,” Porter said.
A questionnaire that residents filled out when the city started the project showed that they wanted a “whimsical look,” “garden look” and “non-traditional look” at La Colonia. At Fletcher Cove, they indicated support for “beachy,” “non-traditional” and “whimsical.”
One of the goals for the upgrades at the Fletcher Cove tot lot is to add more play infrastructure that appeals to children of all ages. Residents have expressed concern that the original proposed design was not as accommodating to younger children.
The city’s 2022-23 budget appropriated $375,000 for design and construction of the Fletcher Cove Tot Lot and $436,000 for design and construction of the La Colonia Tot Lot, according to a city staff report. There was also an additional $173,628 that had already been appropriated for the design of the two tot lots. The city was also awarded a $186,471 California State Parks grant for improvements to the La Colonia Park tot lot. Potential grant funding from the county is still pending.
The Solana Beach City Council in July approved a $12,000 increase to a contract with Van Dyke Landscape Architects on July 13 for the ongoing work on the La Colonia tot lot.
Additional contracts to complete the tot lots are likely to be awarded next year, City Manager Greg Wade said during the meeting.