Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

School improvements cut Normal Heights park space

“We had a solemn promise: no encroachment on the green."

“This really shows a lack of respect to the many area residents that use the park."
“This really shows a lack of respect to the many area residents that use the park."

When angry Normal Heights residents and the planning group began fighting the latest “park” shrinkage at the joint-use Adams Elementary School, they expected some resistance. But, instead, they learned that the joint-use agreement between the city and the San Diego Unified School District had expired.

The pre-construction green space (School Street in foreground, Hawley Boulevard on the right)

The school district had already taken the blacktop area (not part of the joint-use agreement) and put portable classrooms on it during the construction of a new school. While they were doing that, the district’s representatives and the planning group had struck an agreement that the construction wouldn’t encroach on the green space at the west end of the L-shaped park and playground, according to Scott Kessler, a planning-group member who also serves as executive director of the Adams Avenue Business Association.

“We had a solemn promise: no encroachment on the green after they took the basketball court and the blacktop,” Kessler said. “What we’re hearing is that bureaucrats from the school district talked to bureaucrats at [San Diego] parks and rec and made a deal without talking to the community.”

The business association has used the area as a stage during the Adams Avenue Street Fair held every September — except for 2017, when the modular classrooms filled the blacktop.

The fencing turned up about three weeks ago in the heavily used park. It is directly behind the Normal Heights Community Center on Hawley Boulevard.

The park is popular and well used by the community. (Disclosure: I know this because I go there.) During daylight hours after the school day ends, there’s often an all-ages group playing soccer on the green. Four seating areas with benches are often full of people visiting, eating, or hanging out with friends and phones. Locals bring dogs there early in the morning and later in the evening.

“This really shows a lack of respect to the many area residents that use the park and shows a lack of proper planning and process on their part,” Kessler said.

The fence cuts off the western quarter of the green area. Some dog owners thought the fencing was to create an off-leash area for their dogs to run, but the heavy construction equipment made ruts in the grass that made such activity risky.

The planning group has worked hard to put parks into the park-starved neighborhood and many of those exist under the joint-use scheme with city schools. The agreement basically says that before and after school, the designated areas are for all the public to access.

The arrangement has theoretically opened space for residents, but the planning group has repeatedly found that the areas are locked up at night. In the past, there has been confusion about whether it’s the parks staff or schools staff that is supposed to unlock the gates.

When planning-group members took their complaints to councilmember Chris Ward and the school district, they decided their first step was to review the agreement. That’s when they learned the agreement had recently expired.

“No one was paying attention and no one let us know,” Kessler said.

Samer Naji of the school district’s facilities management said that the district would like the community to be patient while the long-overdue upgrades to the school are underway. The city was notified that the project was beginning, he said.

“The district did succeed in limiting the staging area to just a small section of the joint-use area, as the majority of the joint-use area is available for community use,” Naji said in a written statement. “We will be working with the city to develop a new joint-use agreement for the site, as the current agreement is expired.”

The school district put out a request for bids with a range of $23 million to $26 million, according to the CaliforniaBids website. The project is described as the “whole site modernization” of the school that opened in 1980, according to the California Department of Education. About 300 students are enrolled. A charter school, San Diego Global Vision Academy, shares the campus.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

San Diego's punk music, goodbye to Lennon

Reader writers tell favorite music
Next Article

Sanctified and glorified at Encanto Southern Baptist Church

Life is important on this side of death, but what really matters is eternity.
“This really shows a lack of respect to the many area residents that use the park."
“This really shows a lack of respect to the many area residents that use the park."

When angry Normal Heights residents and the planning group began fighting the latest “park” shrinkage at the joint-use Adams Elementary School, they expected some resistance. But, instead, they learned that the joint-use agreement between the city and the San Diego Unified School District had expired.

The pre-construction green space (School Street in foreground, Hawley Boulevard on the right)

The school district had already taken the blacktop area (not part of the joint-use agreement) and put portable classrooms on it during the construction of a new school. While they were doing that, the district’s representatives and the planning group had struck an agreement that the construction wouldn’t encroach on the green space at the west end of the L-shaped park and playground, according to Scott Kessler, a planning-group member who also serves as executive director of the Adams Avenue Business Association.

“We had a solemn promise: no encroachment on the green after they took the basketball court and the blacktop,” Kessler said. “What we’re hearing is that bureaucrats from the school district talked to bureaucrats at [San Diego] parks and rec and made a deal without talking to the community.”

The business association has used the area as a stage during the Adams Avenue Street Fair held every September — except for 2017, when the modular classrooms filled the blacktop.

The fencing turned up about three weeks ago in the heavily used park. It is directly behind the Normal Heights Community Center on Hawley Boulevard.

The park is popular and well used by the community. (Disclosure: I know this because I go there.) During daylight hours after the school day ends, there’s often an all-ages group playing soccer on the green. Four seating areas with benches are often full of people visiting, eating, or hanging out with friends and phones. Locals bring dogs there early in the morning and later in the evening.

“This really shows a lack of respect to the many area residents that use the park and shows a lack of proper planning and process on their part,” Kessler said.

The fence cuts off the western quarter of the green area. Some dog owners thought the fencing was to create an off-leash area for their dogs to run, but the heavy construction equipment made ruts in the grass that made such activity risky.

The planning group has worked hard to put parks into the park-starved neighborhood and many of those exist under the joint-use scheme with city schools. The agreement basically says that before and after school, the designated areas are for all the public to access.

The arrangement has theoretically opened space for residents, but the planning group has repeatedly found that the areas are locked up at night. In the past, there has been confusion about whether it’s the parks staff or schools staff that is supposed to unlock the gates.

When planning-group members took their complaints to councilmember Chris Ward and the school district, they decided their first step was to review the agreement. That’s when they learned the agreement had recently expired.

“No one was paying attention and no one let us know,” Kessler said.

Samer Naji of the school district’s facilities management said that the district would like the community to be patient while the long-overdue upgrades to the school are underway. The city was notified that the project was beginning, he said.

“The district did succeed in limiting the staging area to just a small section of the joint-use area, as the majority of the joint-use area is available for community use,” Naji said in a written statement. “We will be working with the city to develop a new joint-use agreement for the site, as the current agreement is expired.”

The school district put out a request for bids with a range of $23 million to $26 million, according to the CaliforniaBids website. The project is described as the “whole site modernization” of the school that opened in 1980, according to the California Department of Education. About 300 students are enrolled. A charter school, San Diego Global Vision Academy, shares the campus.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Jazz the Night Away, Reopening Celebration at the Aquarium

Events July 11-July 15, 2020
Next Article

Matthew Stewart’s protest song earns heavy spins online

“Alternative Facts” uses the catchphrase coined by presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway
Comments
4

Were will the homeless go?

Feb. 26, 2018

I have a concern that if we run the homeless out of our neighborhood parks they won't just vaporize, but will just move to places like our carports, our backyards, our canyons, where I fear they will create even more fire danger in our canyons than the ones who are already living there. Also, I fear, the more they are pushed into hiding, the isolated groups that are likely to form will become more and more tight knit, creating bands of nomads that could well pose greater threats to our communities than they are while living among us.

March 2, 2018

a place that is a known homeless hangout is not a good place to share with an elementary school.

March 2, 2018

I have not seen homeless people moving in there. I see moms with babies watching their older kids, local kids playing soccer informally, people practicing frisbee and softball, people flying drones, friends meeting halfway for a carry-out meal, dog walkers, people before and after church services, and parents just getting a minute to breathe. The park in the midst of a densely packed neighborhood, lots of apartments all around. During heat waves, it fills up in the evening with families cooling off. It is not known as a homeless 'hang out' but even if it was, they are part of a large number of diverse people who value and enjoy the little bit of green in a park they can walk to.

March 5, 2018

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close