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Safety center gets funding boost

DEL MAR — A recent City Council decision authorizing an agreement for final design of the new 17th Street beach safety center not only advanced the project, but also secured another $35,000 in funding.
When Friends of the Powerhouse began its fundraising efforts for the facility, the Del Mar Foundation pledged to donate the money once the city voted to move the project forward.
Council members did so at the Jan. 24 meeting, and on Feb. 17, Friends and Foundation members gathered in front of the aging facility to present a ceremonial giant check to Pat Vergne, community services director and chief lifeguard.
The existing lifeguard tower was built by hand in 1964 by the head lifeguard with help from the fire chief. Nearly five decades later, the facility has structural cracks, a cramped room that serves as both an administrative meeting room and first aid station, a ladder to connect the ground floor to the tower, a shared shower and locker room and a restroom that is not compliant with federal disability laws.
Last month council members awarded the design contract to Jeff Katz Architecture for a 2,644-square-foot facility that will feature a 753-square-foot first-floor lifeguard space, second-floor administrative offices and new restrooms.
The project, estimated to cost between $2.7 million and $3 million, recently received a funding boost from the $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.
Friends of the Powerhouse has a variety of annual and ongoing fundraisers to raise money for the project, including casino night, Power-to-the-Tower bricks and an annual summer dinner and auction. So far the group has raised more than $500,000.
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