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Residents ante up to help fund new lifeguard tower

DEL MAR — About 150 people anted up to help fund the new 17th Street beach safety center and lifeguard headquarters during the third annual Casino Night Party for the Tower on Feb. 5 at Powerhouse Community Center. The event, hosted by Friends of the Powerhouse, raised $39,000 last year for the project.
The $60 tickets included casino-style games such as craps, blackjack and roulette, dinner by Jake’s Del Mar, a complimentary cocktail and music by Java. A live auction featured vacation packages, diamond earrings, a day at the Del Mar races and a free Powerhouse rental.
Other prizes included a two-night stay at L’Auberge Del Mar with gift certificates to Sbicca, Bully’s, Il Fornaio and Pacifica Del Mar, dinner for 10 from Jake’s served by Del Mar lifeguards and a Life’s a Beach package that offered certificates to lifeguard programs, a tour of the lifeguard tower and a ride in the rescue boat.
Friends of the Powerhouse was created to help the city renovate and preserve the Powerhouse building. Following the upgrade of that facility, the group raised money to help rebuild the tot lot and purchase a lifeguard rescue boat and beach-ready wheelchairs.
Plans to replace the aging lifeguard tower began in 2002. Last month City Council accepted a $160,000 donation from Friends of the Powerhouse and authorized an agreement for final design plans.
The project, estimated to cost between $2.7 million and $3 million, received a funding boost by the recent $4.4 million sale of a city-owned lot on Balboa Avenue. Most of that money was used to retire the debt on the Shores property the city purchased in 2008, but about $500,000 was earmarked after the sale for the new safety center.