By Monica Garske | SDUN Reporter
A joint-use agreement between the San Diego City Council and the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) is bringing a recreation space to Jefferson Elementary School in North Park.
Both the City and the School District approved the $1.9 million park space, located south of University Avenue at 3770 Utah St. Work on the park was completed last month.
Cynthia Reed-Porter, communications supervisor at SDUSD, said the project came out of necessity because Jefferson Elementary was lacking in sufficient play space for its students.
Reed-Porter also said the joint-use field was developed on SDUSD property and is predominantly funded by the School District’s Proposition S bond program, which provides funds for improvement projects at school facilities throughout the district.
“Our list of projects that need [Proposition] S funding is never-ending, so we do have to be prudent with the dollars. This park project at Jefferson Elementary was a great candidate. The students needed a play area and since it’s a joint-use park, we’ll be able to maximize the space within the community. We want it to become a meeting hub for North Park residents,” Reed-Porter said.
Per the 10-year agreement, Reed-Porter said the School District will have use of the park during school hours and the City will have use during non-school hours.
Stacey LoMedico, director for the City of San Diego Park and Recreation department said, “The field will be available to the general public 30 minutes after the end of the school day, as in accordance with the joint-use agreement, which also includes [City use on] weekends and school holidays. We anticipate the public to use it for not only general recreation, but also permitted sports and league-related events.”
While construction and design for the park is funded by Proposition S dollars, LoMedico said the City will cover the annual maintenance costs, which amount to approximately $13,000 a year.
District 3 Councilmember Todd Gloria said he believes this joint-use agreement is well worth it, as the park will become an invaluable asset to the North Park community.
“I’m proud to work with our school district to create this benefit for North Park residents and local students. These improvements will provide a revamped play space for Jefferson students and much-needed park space for neighborhood recreational activity,” Gloria said.
The joint-use field is currently closed to the public, but is being used by the school. Reed-Porter said it will officially open to the public on April 12. She also said a dedication ceremony will take place on-site that day, as well as a Jog-A-Thon held by Jefferson Elementary School students.
Once it’s open, there will be a substantial amount of new recreation space available. Randy White, a real estate specialist for SDUSD who works directly with the City on joint-use facilities and agreements, said this particular space is approximately one-and-a-half acres in size. This includes one acre of synthetic turf field with a walking track and half an acre of hard court space, which includes play equipment and striping for four square, basketball courts and tether ball. A children’s play area is also included.
White said the park also includes accessible routes and concrete walkways, three benches, a drinking fountain and 15 parking spaces.
“The community would like the field to be used for various sports [including] baseball, softball and soccer,” White said. “The field will probably be for practices, not games, but this is still questionable. Neighbors can use it for flying kites, picnics and tossing around the Frisbee,” she added.
For more information, visit fpcprojects.sandi.net.