Really, this small piece of park land sees a lot of action
  • Really, this small piece of park land sees a lot of action
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Is a strip of beach-front grass in a park in Ocean Beach the right location to place a memorial that honors veterans? An important decision looms at city hall.

The Ocean Beach Community Development Corporation (OBCDC) wants to construct a 20-feet wide walkway that runs perpendicular to the ocean immediately south of the Ocean Beach lifeguard station. Dubbed “Life’s Journey” by its designer, the project would consist of a 67.5-feet faux rock wall resembling Sunset Cliffs that incorporates three polished, black granite panels ranging from four to seven feet in height. The panels would feature engravings with names of 1500 honorees. The adjacent walkway would flow from Abbott Street toward the shoreline and contain an inlay of stars to represent veterans lost in battle.

The group spearheaded the project three years ago through a series of community workshops to replace the adjacent existing memorial at the foot of Newport Avenue, where the names of the 84 honorees engraved on the sidewalk have been rendered unreadable from years of sand, salt air, and foot traffic.

The project has drawn only scattered opposition, mostly in the form of comments on social media, from people lamenting the removal of a heavily used piece of parkland or objecting to the militaristic connections. But most politicians and community groups have expressed support, the latest being the Ocean Beach Planning Board, which voted in approval of the permit earlier this month.

Once the permit is obtained, fundraising for the project will begin in earnest, Steve Grosch of the OBCDC said. The group intends to raise a total of $1 million in private contributions for construction. In addition, a $250 donation is being requested for ongoing maintenance from applicants who want to place names on the granite panels.

The loss of grass will be partly made up by converting sidewalk to grass on the south, Dave Martin of the OBCDC said.

“If you’ve served our country, you have the right to be thanked. That’s the motivation behind this,” Martin said.

The city’s hearing officer will make a determination on whether to issue a coastal development permit June 29 at 8:30 a.m. at city council chambers, 12th floor, City Administration Building, 202 C St.

The hearing officer’s decision can be appealed to the San Diego Planning Commission and California Coastal Commission. More information about the project is available at obcdc.org.

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Comments

nostalgic June 29, 2016 @ 9:03 p.m.

This park was given to the City of San Diego for recreational use by the State of California. The legal transfer stipulates the conditions for its use. If the conditions are not met, the property reverts to the State of California. Welcome to Ocean Beach State Park!

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swell June 29, 2016 @ 9:50 p.m.

War Memorial? What does that have to do with veterans? We have a War Memorial building in Balboa park, and also a Veterans Memorial building in Balboa park. I might understand a monument to veterans, but not a monument to war. How about a monument to peace- an increasingly rare consideration.

I'm a Vietnam veteran. I despise war. When 'diplomats' fail to do their job, we have war. Innocent teenagers are sent to kill each other until the 'diplomats' can come to some kind of agreement. War should be the immediate recognition that government has failed to do its job, and the people running that government should immediately be removed.

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nostalgic June 30, 2016 @ 8:30 a.m.

This isn't exactly a memorial, which might imply a deceased veteran. Any veteran with honorable credentials can obtain a name-plate for the $250 registration fee, priority given to OB addresses. This will give the OB CDC a $375,000 war-chest to get started, local government grants soon to follow.

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