Officials weigh how to spend state funds on Ocean Beach Pier and Barnes Tennis Center

The sun sets behind the Ocean Beach Pier.
The sun sets behind the Ocean Beach Pier.
(File / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

More than $10 million in state funds will be allocated toward projects in the Point Loma-Ocean Beach area as part of California’s fiscal 2021-22 budget. Some $8.4 million has been earmarked for work on the Ocean Beach Pier, with $2.5 million dedicated for renovations at the Barnes Tennis Center in Point Loma.

OB Pier

An evaluation report completed in 2019 and released in April this year said the 55-year-old pier has “reached the end of its service life.”

The study listed three options for the deteriorating pier, along with cost estimates for construction: repair ($8 million), rehabilitation ($30 million to $50 million) and replacement ($40 million to $60 million).

Based on the findings, Ocean Beach community leaders concluded that a complete tear-down and rebuild of the pier would be the best option.

Andrea Schlageter, chairwoman of the Ocean Beach Planning Board, said the funding the state has set aside is an important first step in getting the project off the ground.

“This certainly builds momentum for the project,” Schlageter said. “Once you start funding, it’s easier to secure even more funding. This will hopefully incentivize the city to add more funds or get funding from elsewhere, maybe even donations.”

The city of San Diego has submitted a request for $500,000 in community project funding through the fiscal 2022 federal budget. The request has been advanced by U.S. Sen. Alex Padilla of California.

There is no time limit on the use of the state funds, but Schlageter said the $8.4 million likely will help cover the cost of permitting, an engineering study and purchasing preliminary materials, which the city has said have already been ordered.

How the funds will be spent, however, is ultimately at the discretion of the mayor’s office. David Rolland, senior advisor of communications for Mayor Todd Gloria, said it’s anticipated that the state funding for the pier will cover emergency repairs and several years of predevelopment and permitting work on a long-term solution.

Schlageter is one of the members of a working group discussing the pier’s future. Others are Teddy Martinez, senior policy and strategy manager for City Councilwoman Jennifer Campbell, whose District 2 includes Ocean Beach; Corey Bruins, president of the Ocean Beach Town Council; and Denny Knox, executive director of the Ocean Beach MainStreet Association.

“The city will need to cover a significant portion of the funding, so making sure that we’re continuing the conversation is paramount,” Schlageter said. “This is a multistep process that is going to take years to complete, so all the funding doesn’t have to come right away.”

Bruins said an open dialogue between the city and members of the community is of utmost importance.

“This is going to be a great opportunity for Mayor Gloria’s office and council member Campbell,” Bruins said. “People in OB, including those of us on the [Town] Council, have been frustrated in the past at the mayor’s office and at council member Campbell’s office when they move forward with things without consulting community groups. The situation with the pier provides them an opportunity that is more apolitical than, for example, [short-term rentals] or the vendor ordinance or homelessness. ... I’m really excited to see the ways in which we can create a coalition. It’s a big vision project, and not just for people in this community. It would behoove the mayor’s office to be open and clear and communicative.”

Bruins said Martinez’s role in the working group gives him hope that there will be more opportunity for correspondence with city officials.

“Teddy reached out to me and the other group leaders,” he said. “I hope we can keep that same level of communication with the mayor’s office. This will be a great example to see what leadership coming out of Mayor Gloria’s office will look like as far as working together with people in OB.”

The working group held its first meeting Aug. 6.

“As a community, we’re in support of rebuilding the pier and seeing some new iteration of it come forward,” Schlageter said. “We don’t want to waste the whole $8 million on superficial repairs, but it is a process. This funding will help cover at least those first few steps of the process. You can’t throw that much money at something for it to go nowhere.”

Barnes Tennis Center

Jennifer Richards plays in the 2016 CIF San Diego Section high school girls tennis championships at Barnes Tennis Center.
Jennifer Richards of La Jolla Country Day School hits a shot during the CIF San Diego Section high school girls tennis championships at Barnes Tennis Center in Point Loma in 2016.
(Chadd Cady)

Ryan Redondo, chief executive of the nonprofit Youth Tennis San Diego, which owns and operates the Barnes Tennis Center at 4490 W. Point Loma Blvd., said the group will strategize how to use the $2.5 million dedicated toward renovations.

“We have over 10,000 people come to the facility year to year, including international tournaments, and we have a very large outreach program where we go out into the city and provide tennis to underprivileged kids,” Redondo said. “Our goal is to bring those kids back to the Barnes Tennis Center to give them a full tennis experience.”

The center was built in 1995, with no major renovations since, Redondo said. The board of the nonprofit is working to prioritize upkeep items at the center, though Redondo specifically mentioned renovations to the perimeter fencing and the heating and cooling system.


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