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Street improvement project gets the OK

DEL MAR — Thanks to the efforts of the Del Mar Garden Club and Friends of the Powerhouse, one of the few remaining street ends without landscaping will soon be improved.

Council gave a thumbs up at the Feb. 3 meeting for a project that will add a walkway, possible third parking space, seating area and low-lying, drought-tolerant native plants to the beach access area at the end of 18th Street.

Resident Howard Gad said Friends of the Powerhouse will fund the enhancements. The Del Mar Garden Club was consulted to select plants.

Gad, whose wife is a Garden Club member, participated in the improvement project at the end of 19th Street more than a decade ago. He said preliminary plans for 18th Street mimic those enhancements.

Because the end of 18th Street has a two-thirds sea wall for beach access, sand is routinely blown onto the roadway. Gad said the Public Works Department spends a lot of time cleaning it up. He said temporary sand fences and plantings “could significantly reduce the amount of sand that is out on the street.”

There are currently two parking spaces for loading and unloading. Gad said some neighbors have indicated a third space might reduce the backup in the street end, so one is being considered. There are also plans to secure the city outrigger that is kept in the area.

Mary Friestedt, Garden Club president, said three types of plants will be used. None would block views.

They are quail or salt bush, which grows about 3 to 5 feet tall, silver prince canyon rye grass, which tops out at 18 inches and is silver-blue, and California buckwheat, which grows on the Santa Rosa Islands and tolerates salt well.

Once established, none of the planting would require watering, Friestedt said.

Preliminary plans for improvements to the end of 18th Street include a walkway, seating area, possible third parking space and plantings.  Courtesy rendering
Preliminary plans for improvements to the end of 18th Street include a walkway, seating area, possible third parking space and plantings. Courtesy rendering

Gad said in other similar projects, neighbors provided the initial watering needs. He said not all neighbors have been contacted, but so far there hasn’t been any opposition.

“We can’t say that everybody’s in favor of it yet, but we would work with all of them,” Gad said. “So far I don’t know any objections.”

Council members said they support the project.

“I appreciate you doing the work,” Councilman Al Corti said. “I think it’s a great addition.”

“I think it’s an outstanding project to work on,” Councilman Terry Sinnott said. “It’s the typical kind of Del Mar way, where we get different groups together and identify a need and people volunteer to put in their time and efforts to do it.

“I think it’s well worth pursuing because it needs help,” he added. “It needs a great deal of help.”

Councilwoman Sherryl Parks said she recently drove around the entire beach area. “That was one of the most barren and unattractive of all,” she said. “It will be really nice to have it looking spiffy down there.”

City Manager Scott Huth said the enhancements would also help the city financially.

“It clearly helps us solve a real nightmare problem that we have there so it’s going to be a positive thing,” Huth said. “It will be beneficial all the way around.”


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