I]/Many community topics were covered during Ramona Revitalization
Steering Committee on Friday, but few generated as much excitement and
consternation as the Parks and Recreation Subcommittee report presented
by Torry Brean, subcommittee chair.
With the help of Tom Fincher
from the County Department of General Services, community members
present were updated on the progress of the Ramona Library.
The new Ramona Library will break ground this November with completion expected by December 2010. It will be the largest library in District 2 at approximately 20,000 square feet and will include a 2,000-square-foot community room. The architect is the same one who designed the Fallbrook Library, if anyone wants to view the product produced by Ferguson Pape Baldwin Architects, one of San Diego’s largest and most respected design firms.
The current political environment requires that the library be a “green” building, and it thus will have energy efficient measures based on performance criteria as opposed to prescribed equipment. This opens the door to new state-of-the-art ways to reduce the building’s carbon footprint, and it is expected to be a model for future buildings in the community.
District 2 Supervisor Dianne Jacob assured those at the March 27 meeting that the project is on track and the money is in the budget. She said that the county is not going to stop moving ahead on important capital improvement projects.
The Infrastructure and Transportation report presented by Subcommittee Chair Dawn Perfect also had a good deal of focus on the library, and added the consternation element to the discussion. In her report, which sounded a lot like the song that explains that the hip bone is connected to the leg bone that is connected to the foot bone, Perfect expressed concern over 13th Street fronting the library, but not planned to be completely paved or completed to connect to Olive Street. The library project will only improve the east half of 13th Street for the frontage being developed, not the whole street, she said.
With the new signaled intersection at Highway 78 and Olive Street, a logical optional route to Main Street and the library is via Olive to 13th Street, those at the meeting agreed. While a preliminary engineering report is being prepared by the County Department of Public Works (DPW), and will be completed by May, the project is not in the DPW budget for design or construction. Other anticipated projects such as the Ramona Intergenerational Community Campus (RICC) would also affect 13th Street, and coordination would be required with the Santa Maria Creek Greenway Park as well, said Perfect.
Because 13th crosses Santa Maria Creek, an expensive bridge would need to be built, requiring contact and funding from the federal government, she said. Jacob asked county staff to consider a dip crossing as an interim measure to putting 13th Street through, saying, “It’s better than nothing” and needed “sooner rather than later.” County staff said that 13th Street is not even a part of the circulation element of the General Plan at this point.
When the Ramona Community Planning Group presented its Top 10 Road Capital Improvement Project List, which was unchanged from prior submissions, it was deliberately not presented in any prioritized order, since the group believes that all the projects are important. said Perfect. Unfortunately, she added, it appears that county staff was under the impression that the list was in prioritized order, so while 13th Street is becoming increasingly important, it is unlikely to receive immediate attention since it’s not in the top three on RCPG list.
After the library discussion, and also under the topic of Parks and Recreation, the proposed soccer arena planned by the Ramona Boys and Girls Club at Collier Park is not likely to score its goal. The county has had over $375,000 in District 2 Community Project Funds set aside for nearly 10 years for this project, Jacob said, but apparently the Boys and Girls Club does not have its matching funds. It was decided at this meeting that if the matching funds were not presented by June 1 that the Community Project Funds would be reallocated to another project.
However, scoring a win was the Ramona Community Park Soccer Field Snack Bar, which was completed in January and is now operating. Residents are invited to stop by for a hot dog.
A Ramona skateboard park is still on the matrix of projects being considered, but money, a location and a sponsoring group are needed to make this happen. A new group has formed, Association of Ramona Residents Interested in Bringing Activities (ARRIBA), dedicated to the vision, funding and development of healthy activities and lifestyle choices for the community’s youth. ARRIBA is meeting with the YMCA and others to establish a community youth center and/or an aquatic center and skateboard park.