Archives: Current Issues 2004

Strawberry Stand Kiosk Conversion

The scope and design of the proposed visitors/nature center on Via de la Valle, just east of I-5.

Smaller is better. Make it fit in with the River Valley landscape and ecology and make it visitor-friendly.

We are soliciting input from community groups on a new schematic design for the Center, funded by the Friends and supported by the Executive Director of the River Park. The proposed design will be examined next by the Park’s Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) and the Joint Powers Authority (JPA) that oversees the River Valley Park development.

The Master Plan for the coastal area of the River Park calls for the development of a 6,000 sq. foot “boiler plate” Visitors Center with a 75-car/trailer cement parking lot on Via de la Valle in the approximate location of the old strawberry stand. The Plan devotes four pages to the general design and functions of the proposed center. It calls for a building with minimum visibility that blends with the existing terrain surrounded by a newly restored landscape. Parking, usage, and signage are also addressed in the concept plan, sometimes with fairly specific proposals.

In the fall of 2003 the Friends met with the Executive Director of the River Park, suggesting that we hire a landscape architect noted for his environmentally sensitive work to prepare a new site design. The suggestion was enthusiastically received, and the architect, Lane Goodkind, worked with the Friends to create a new site plan.

The new design calls for a 4,000 square foot Visitors Center with a smaller parking area that minimizes the use of concrete on the site, and presents an innovative V-shaped building with a central plaza that allows for more efficient use of both indoor and outdoor space.

The new plan has been presented to the Solana Beach City Council, the Carmel Valley and San Dieguito Planning Groups and the JPA Project Review Committee. All the groups preferred the new plan and voiced concerns about parking, access, staging areas for horseback riders and horse trailers, as well as other matters. River Park staff members are now reviewing the community input, and their recommendations will be taken to the CAC and the JPA for action.

The Friends intend to continue to act as community facilitators in this exciting project.

—Ed Greene

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