Encinitas Community Park… Finally!!

Jerome Stocks Jerome Stocks 5 Comments


Everybody loves a park, right?


I asked twice because apparently some people do not. How else can you explain why it took 14 years to turn a piece of prime Encinitas real estate, west of I-5 mind you, into the new park that finally will open on Saturday January 10th?
Fourteen years of lawsuits, name calling, motive questioning, opposition, picayune objections, moving goal posts, Coastal Commission hearings, and on and on and on.

Not for a factory. Not for a prison. Not for a high density housing development. For a park.

A place where people can watch the grass grow and maybe kick a ball or watch children run around and play.

Nobody got rich on this project.

Still, it took fourteen years.

Earlier this week in what the restaurant people call a soft opening, city officials in Encinitas took down the fences and the word spread like wildfire that the park was open. Or, in the words of 14-years of invective, that which would “destroy Encinitas as we know it” per the park opponents was about to become a reality.

But none of that was apparent this day. In fact, several of the opponents to the park were there. Enjoying it just as much as anyone else.

I could not help but be reminded of all the great things in North County that were created by people of vision. And how many were almost killed in the cradle.

The Del Mar Plaza, for example. Today, it is the go-to place for great company, great views and great food for people all over the region. It was even a model for Horton Plaza. But at the time, project opponents assured us its construction would usher in the new apocalypse.

For what reasons? You name it, this new center of commerce and community was about to create them all. Also, the Encinitas Home Depot and Encinitas Ranch Town Center, which went to a vote of the people, and upon the voters approval was sued, but the lawsuit failed and the project prevailed. And we have one of the most successful shopping enters in San Diego County.
How about sand on the beach? Encinitas has great beaches enjoyed by all. Occasionally they lose their sand and all that is left are acres and acres of cobblestones. Replacing the sand should be a no-brainer, right?


Wrong: That also takes years and years of hearings and scientific study, and sometimes lawsuits,dire warnings and fairy tales about how we simply cannot allow sand on the beach because that would end Encinitas as we know it and kill some valuable species of something or other. But of course it never does…

There are dozens more. After the projects are up for a while, the former opponents are often found enjoying the very projects they worked so hard to stop.

One of my favorites was a guy called “Johnny Q”. He came up to me and said “I walked neighborhoods and put flyers on parked cars to oppose the Encinitas Town Center and Home Depot. Thank god my side lost”! Gotta love that guy’s honesty.
In Encinitas, the newest City Council Member (Catherine S. Blakespear) lives in the Cardiff community of the City of Encinitas near where this park is located, and her mother, Ms. Tricia Smith, was a major opponent of the project all the way through the process.

No doubt the newly elected City Councilwoman – recently appointed as Deputy Mayor, Ms. Blakespear — will allow her name to be on the dedication plaque and will stand proudly with the rest of the elected officials mugging for the camera’s and proclaiming what a crown jewel this park is for all of Encinitas.

Of course, things could become awkward for her at work in Del Mar where she and her park-opposing mom work together in a law office.

Did I mention the skateboarders? Lots and lots of skateboarders are enjoying the dedicated skate feature designed with the help of some of the local skate legends. Did you know that Encinitas is Tony Hawk country?

That’s right, Tony Hawk: You heard me right the first time. Go check your kids Xbox game collection to see if there’s one with his name on it. There probably is.

Saturday January 10th the City of Encinitas will hold a ceremony to “cut the ribbon” on the new “Encinitas Community Park” from 10AM – 2:00 PM. There will be snacks!!

Some facts:

The Encinitas Community Park (AKA The Hall Property) is located just west of interstate 5 at Santa Fe Drive in Encinitas. It covers 43 acres, and has a dedicated skate element, a 2 acre dog park, play structures, baseball and T-ball diamonds, and soccer fields that overlay the outfields on the baseball fields. Some BBQ’s, restrooms, tables, and ample parking are also there along with a dry creek and grassy kite flying / picnic areas.

It’s a beautiful park and it in fact IS the crown Jewel in the Encinitas area, and it’s free to the public. Join the City on celebrating this long sought amenity being here for us and all future generations of North County folks to benefit from.

Costs? Land, About 20 million dollars.

Construction? About 20 million dollars.

Lawsuits and E.I.R.? More than a million dollars, and many years of delay.

The fact that a generation of Encinitas kids have been denied this great park to play in? Tragic.

The fact that the Final project has been built to benefit the people of and future generations of Encinitas residents? Priceless!


Comments 5

  1. What is this comment about. I thought we are to live within our means.

    Encinitas City council spent over $60,000,000 on a park which costs property owners over $15,000 each although they did not get a direct vote.

    Note that Jerome Stocks was voted out while serving as Mayor and in line to be the SANDAG Chair. Show how much Encinitas cares for Mr. Stocks.

  2. Post

    Note that “Joe Smith is not Mr. or Ms. Morgan’s real name. Very brave.
    Note also that “Joe Smith” fails fact check.
    A) The city did not spend $60,000,000. FAIL.
    B) And the expense of the park comes out of the city’s general fund which costs each property owner nothing as there is NO Property Tax assessment. FAIL!
    C) Jerome Stocks was indeed voted out of office seeking his 4th term on City Council and after serving 2 years, thus termed out, as SANDAG Chairman. EPIC FAIL!!!
    Let’s see how much Encinitas cares for JPMorgan, AKA “Joe Smith”. step up buddy and run for public office. Show us all how your brilliant solutions can solve our local issues.

    Otherwise, I may know of a rock you can crawl back under 😉

  3. It has taken too long to get a park built. That is a shame.
    There were a lot of delays. There were not 14 years of law suits. There were two law suits. The courts agreed that an EIR was needed to develop on the pesticide contaminated greenhouse land.The city lost that one. Mr Stocks seems to still feel that the EIR was not needed. Not doing an EIR on greenhouse land untill citizens sued and won to appropriately have one as per city guidelines wasted time, not presenting the completed EIR in a timely manner wasted time, using the park as a political tool claiming those who did not want a regional sports park don’t like children, not removing the identified toxic soil off site as the county requested and hiring lawyers to allow the 49,000cu yds contaminated soil to be burried on site wasted time, not compromising with the community park people because you could vote them down like the Planning Commission was voted down when they rejected the park plan because it was not what most people wanted and generally leading the cause of dividing the community rather than uniting the community costed time and money.
    And the park will cost closer to $75 million with bond payment, maintence and operating costs and unaccounted for traffic safety requirements.
    I don’t think anyone opposed a park. It seemed they wanted a community park. No one ever made a “stop the park” sign. There were scale down signs.
    The park would surely have been completed sooner if leadership would have spent more efforts to unite the community for the benefit of all rather than the 14 year divide and conquer approach that was enacted.

  4. Post

    Chris May is just another bitter clinger holding onto their false revisionist history. Wanting to re-argue stuff settled long ago.
    It matters not. We have our park and his group didn’t get more attorneys fees !

  5. I agree with everyone that it is great that the park is open.
    The skate park is state of the art, Maggie’s Dog Park is magnificent. The kids play area is terrific, fun and innovative. And the vast majority of the park, the six sports fields and walkways around them are a very positive community asset. Hopefully, with this addition, the 22 sports fields within a one mile radius of the park will help solve the stated need for more sports fields.
    I agree with Council Member Schaffer’s sentiments,”…that those on all sides of the earlier controversies can set aside any disagreements and enjoy what has been built. ”
    From the comments of author of “Community Commentary, “ECP….finally!”, it appears disagreements and unpleasant rhetoric persists.
    Our city has witnessed over a decade of divisive acrimony pitting those who wanted a special use sports park with a plan to “maximize sport fields” and those who wished for a Community Park with sports fields and other amenities that have been deleted from the plan.
    The truth is EVERYONE WANTED A PARK.
    The Commentary’s author’s attack of our newest council member, Blakesphere and her mother and the veiled threat of, “…things could get awkward for her at work in Del Mar where her park-opposing mom work together”, is inappropriate.
    The portion of the community that the commentator refers to as “opponents of the project”, merely wished for other amenities, as indicated by the Community Imput Map, sponsored by the city. Our City Planning Commission, agreed with these “opponents” after hearing from the entire community.
    Amenities included: sports fields, dog park, skate park, gardens, basketball courts, tennis courts, teen center, amphitheater, water features and aquatic center.
    Hopefully, in time, some or all of these amenities that would help define a community park can be added.
    I feel it is time to enjoy the beautiful park we have, make improvements when possible to serve more of the community and halt the divisive dialogue.

    Thank you Encinitas for our wonderful new park.

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