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

La Mesa park emerges at Waite Drive and Murray Hill Road

Can they use the eucalyptus cut down in Collier Park?

“They did what is called ‘brownfield' clean up.”
“They did what is called ‘brownfield' clean up.”

The city of La Mesa is planning to turn a 2.84-acre lot on the northwest corner of Waite Drive and Murray Hill Road (just north of Highway 94 near Massachusetts Avenue) into a new community park. The property was purchased by the city from the county in July 2012. It was the former location of the Lemon Grove Road Station — a County of San Diego public works yard.

“When public land goes up like that and they are going to sell the property, they will do a first right of refusal to local agencies,” Susan Richardson, the director of community services for the city of La Mesa explains. “So, the city of La Mesa basically had a first right to purchase the property before it went out for sale. The City negotiated with the county to purchase the land with the intention to make it into a park.”

She continues, “We purchased the property using park development fee money. Those are fees that developers pay into the city to mitigate new development for new residential development. We purchased it over about a four-year period. We made payments on it to the county before we owned it outright.”

Due to the former use of the property, a large environmental clean-up was required before the land could be sold.

Sponsored
Sponsored
"The public will probably come up with this really long list of desired amenities."

“They did what is called ‘brownfield’ [a tract of land that has been developed for industrial purposes, polluted, and then abandoned] clean up,” Richardson says. “Basically, they got some EPA funding to clean the site of any environmental hazards. They did maintenance of their vehicles there. They decontaminated or cleaned up the site. Then the city was given the option to purchase it and we also did other testing to make sure the site was clean before we bought it.”

The city received funding through the California Department of Recreation program last December to create a master plan for the proposed park. This was secured with the help of state assemblymember Akilah Weber, who formerly served on La Mesa’s city council. The next step is to gauge public opinion to determine what the members of the community actually want in the new park. This process began with a recent, public Zoom meeting which was setup by the city to, “gather input, feedback and priorities on desired amenities and character of the park.”

“It’s a clean slate. It’s 2.8 acres,” Richardson explains. “You can’t put a lot of stuff in that amount of space. So, the public will probably come up with this really long list of desired amenities, but they won’t fit. They will have soccer fields, pickle ball, a playground…we’ll have a list way longer than what we can physically fit into the space. Then we will have to narrow it down and say, ‘Well, it’s a neighborhood park, what are the priorities?’ A playground might be the priority or a picnic area. We can only fit so many things into the space because it’s a small park.”

Richardson expects the master plan process to continue through most of this year. After designs and costs are finalized, the real fun begins — finding the money to build.

Remains of huge eucalyptus trees that were recently removed from Collier Park.

“A master plan is a dream,” Richardson says. “What are your needs and what would you like? And then we search like crazy looking under rocks and applying for every grant that we can to try to fund those desires. A perfect example is the Collier Park [on Palm Avenue in La Mesa] master plan that we are finally getting to the next stage of renovation. It’s the city’s oldest park. That’s also a ten-year plan. The park master plan was finished ten years ago, and it has taken that long to raise the money to be able to make improvements.”

The new park property is fenced off and is being used for staging and laydown by partner agencies to the city. If you peek through the fence, you may notice a large amount of cut wood on the site. These are the remains of huge eucalyptus trees that were recently removed from Collier Park. Richardson is hoping that this wood can be repurposed for nature playgrounds at both the future park on Waite Drive and at Collier Park. There is a nature playground like this near the Balboa Tennis Club in Balboa Park.

“They were the first ones in the city of San Diego,” Richardson says. “Eucalyptus trees are kind of hazardous in parks, so they had to remove a bunch there and they did the very first kind of nature playground in our region, and I think they have done a couple of others since then in other San Diego parks.”

As for the name of the new park, Richardson says they have been referring to it as Waite Drive Park in reference to the street that you access it from. She adds that the street is named after a real-estate developer, J.W. Waite, who owned the land and developed the Vista La Mesa area. They don’t seem to know much else about him.

“We kind of refer to it as Waite Drive Park, but we’re like, ‘Do we want to name it after this guy? We better do some background checks on him to make sure he was a good guy.’”

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

Jesse Daniel Edwards returns, Taz Taylor shoots, Swive performs, Sara Petite revues, and Roger! stays home

Upcoming Little Italy, Ramona, San Carlos, and Solana Beach concerts
“They did what is called ‘brownfield' clean up.”
“They did what is called ‘brownfield' clean up.”

The city of La Mesa is planning to turn a 2.84-acre lot on the northwest corner of Waite Drive and Murray Hill Road (just north of Highway 94 near Massachusetts Avenue) into a new community park. The property was purchased by the city from the county in July 2012. It was the former location of the Lemon Grove Road Station — a County of San Diego public works yard.

“When public land goes up like that and they are going to sell the property, they will do a first right of refusal to local agencies,” Susan Richardson, the director of community services for the city of La Mesa explains. “So, the city of La Mesa basically had a first right to purchase the property before it went out for sale. The City negotiated with the county to purchase the land with the intention to make it into a park.”

She continues, “We purchased the property using park development fee money. Those are fees that developers pay into the city to mitigate new development for new residential development. We purchased it over about a four-year period. We made payments on it to the county before we owned it outright.”

Due to the former use of the property, a large environmental clean-up was required before the land could be sold.

Sponsored
Sponsored
"The public will probably come up with this really long list of desired amenities."

“They did what is called ‘brownfield’ [a tract of land that has been developed for industrial purposes, polluted, and then abandoned] clean up,” Richardson says. “Basically, they got some EPA funding to clean the site of any environmental hazards. They did maintenance of their vehicles there. They decontaminated or cleaned up the site. Then the city was given the option to purchase it and we also did other testing to make sure the site was clean before we bought it.”

The city received funding through the California Department of Recreation program last December to create a master plan for the proposed park. This was secured with the help of state assemblymember Akilah Weber, who formerly served on La Mesa’s city council. The next step is to gauge public opinion to determine what the members of the community actually want in the new park. This process began with a recent, public Zoom meeting which was setup by the city to, “gather input, feedback and priorities on desired amenities and character of the park.”

“It’s a clean slate. It’s 2.8 acres,” Richardson explains. “You can’t put a lot of stuff in that amount of space. So, the public will probably come up with this really long list of desired amenities, but they won’t fit. They will have soccer fields, pickle ball, a playground…we’ll have a list way longer than what we can physically fit into the space. Then we will have to narrow it down and say, ‘Well, it’s a neighborhood park, what are the priorities?’ A playground might be the priority or a picnic area. We can only fit so many things into the space because it’s a small park.”

Richardson expects the master plan process to continue through most of this year. After designs and costs are finalized, the real fun begins — finding the money to build.

Remains of huge eucalyptus trees that were recently removed from Collier Park.

“A master plan is a dream,” Richardson says. “What are your needs and what would you like? And then we search like crazy looking under rocks and applying for every grant that we can to try to fund those desires. A perfect example is the Collier Park [on Palm Avenue in La Mesa] master plan that we are finally getting to the next stage of renovation. It’s the city’s oldest park. That’s also a ten-year plan. The park master plan was finished ten years ago, and it has taken that long to raise the money to be able to make improvements.”

The new park property is fenced off and is being used for staging and laydown by partner agencies to the city. If you peek through the fence, you may notice a large amount of cut wood on the site. These are the remains of huge eucalyptus trees that were recently removed from Collier Park. Richardson is hoping that this wood can be repurposed for nature playgrounds at both the future park on Waite Drive and at Collier Park. There is a nature playground like this near the Balboa Tennis Club in Balboa Park.

“They were the first ones in the city of San Diego,” Richardson says. “Eucalyptus trees are kind of hazardous in parks, so they had to remove a bunch there and they did the very first kind of nature playground in our region, and I think they have done a couple of others since then in other San Diego parks.”

As for the name of the new park, Richardson says they have been referring to it as Waite Drive Park in reference to the street that you access it from. She adds that the street is named after a real-estate developer, J.W. Waite, who owned the land and developed the Vista La Mesa area. They don’t seem to know much else about him.

“We kind of refer to it as Waite Drive Park, but we’re like, ‘Do we want to name it after this guy? We better do some background checks on him to make sure he was a good guy.’”

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

Gaslamp ugly sweater pub crawl, Coronado ice skating, Nutcracker tea party, Del Mar Red Nose Run

2022 Reader Christmas events guide
Next Article

San Diego guys reflect on their dark skin

Editor's picks of stories Robert Kumpel wrote for the Reader
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town The Gonzo Report — Making the musical scene, or at least reporting from it 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 Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Theater — On stage in San Diego this week 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 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