City to take over Harbaugh Parkway maintenance

Encinitas on Aug. 23 agreed to take over maintenance of a popular walking parkway in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, after the group responsible for it in the past said it could no longer afford to do it.

The City Council unanimously approved a proposal from the Cardiff 101 Main Street Association that calls for the city to enter into a lease agreement with the North County Transit District to assume maintenance of the Harbaugh Seaside Parkway.

The Main Street Association and its predecessors have maintained the path, which was formerly known as the Carpentier Parkway, since 1967, three years after entering into a $1-a-year lease of the property with the transit district.

But Main Street Executive Director Roberta Walker said rises in water costs and maintenance made future maintenance unsustainable.

“The financial burden and staff time to maintain the parkway has become unsustainable for Cardiff 101 Main Street,” Walker wrote to the council in a letter dated June 20.  “We feel our funding, time and expertise could be better allocated to working with our local residents, businesses and government to promote Cardiff’s economic vitality, historic preservation, beautification and safety.”

According to the staff report, the Main Street Association was using nearly all of its $15,000 in city aid to maintain the parkway, which took funds away from the group’s other functions of promoting local businesses and organizing community events.

The association recently terminated its 53-year-old lease with the transit district to pave the way for the city to enter into a similar agreement with transit district to maintain the 9,000-square-foot parcel.

The parkway’s name changed last year as a result of a $110,000 donation from George and Betty Harbaugh Charitable Foundation, which will pay to restore the parkway, which has fallen into disrepair in recent years. Encinitas’ role will be to maintain the parkway before and after the restoration projects.

Encinitas officials estimated the first-year cost of assuming control of the parkway’s maintenance at nearly $30,000, and about $18,000 a year thereafter.

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