OCEANSIDE — Oceanside beaches are being spruced up with new sets of stairs and energy-efficient LED lighting.
Beach stairwells, handrails and decks have already been replaced at Tyson Street Park, Ash Street and 1919 South Pacific.
Work is underway just north of the Beach Recreation Center, and will continue beach by beach at access points at Neptune Way, Windward Way and Cassidy Street.
City beaches returning to the care of the parks department sparked the renovation project.
Beach maintenance had been the responsibility of the harbor for a time, which runs as an enterprise fund and relies on slip renter fees for financing.
Joel Menard, the city’s parks maintenance supervisor, said with beaches reassigned to the parks department and some money in the department budget for the work, the 30-year-old beach stairways are being replaced.
Menard credits his crew for completing a lot of the work in house and reducing costs.
Irrigation is also being adjusted to fix any overspraying, and beachside landscaping is being freshened up.
“With a drought it’s in our best interest to practice water conservation and keep irrigation running as efficiently as possible,” Menard said.
Landscaping upgrades were just completed at Strand Beach Park and are near completion at Tyson Street Park.
The pier amphitheater will also be brightened up with some new shrubbery.
Another ongoing city project is replacing lights at the pier amphitheater and beach parking lots with LED lights.
Steve Elliott, the city’s public works electrical supervisor, said it is not as simple as changing out a light bulb. New fixtures must be ordered and put in, along with the LED bulbs.
Elliott said the department is in the process of selecting the best fixtures.
Oceanside has already replaced 98 percent of its streetlights with LED lights. Elliott said the switch saves the city a significant amount on its monthly electricity bills.
“All cities in California are changing from high-pressure sodium to LED lights, they’re so much more efficient,” Elliott said.
Another benefit is LED lights are directional, and the beams can be focused.
The project is currently in phase two, in which the city streetlight project addresses changing city parking lot lights to LED to the extent SDG&E and earlier loan funds hold out. The additional LED lights will be in place by the end of summer.
Oceanside is being recognized with the SDG&E Energy Grand Champion Award in June for changing close to 100 percent of its streetlights to LED.