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Opinion: Councilman Baker Calls for a Park at North Beach

Councilman Bob Baker calls for the completion of a beach park at North Beach next to the Ole Hanson Beach Club.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The public can weigh in Wednesday evening at 6 on the second floor of 910 Calle Negocio; the General Plan Advisory Committee is meeting there in part to discuss priorities for North Beach.

Now that the plan to build a commercial development on publicly owned land at North Beach , what should be done to revitalize the area? What is the logical next step?

In my opinion the answer is simple: Complete the park.

Ole Hanson's original 1927 design for North Beach showed the as a beach park. It was only half completed. is the completed half. All we have to do now is finish the job and Ole's beach club will be done. This park should be an extension of what is already in place. We already have the restrooms, banquet facilities, kitchen and parking. All that needs finishing is adding some more grass, turn some streets into pedestrian walks, and move some parking to the “ECR” lot which is on the ocean side of El Camino Real. Some people call it the "Christmas tree " lot.

The hard part is done. The zoning is in place. It is zoned “public.” The City owns the land. No acquisition costs required. A park would be consistent with the policies of the California Coastal Act. The Ole Hanson Beach Club will be undergoing a $1.5 million restoration starting early next year. Let's do it right. Let's finish the park.

People have been talking about adaptive reuse of the Miramar Theatre for a long time. They've asked questions about what the City can do to encourage some development. I think it is time to do just that. A more beautiful and spacious beach club area sounds like something that would draw people to the area. With more people comes an opportunity to do something with the Miramar.

Have you ever sat on the ? I have. It's a great spot that we can make even greater. A completed park offers endless recreational opportunities: , special events, festivals, cultural and charitable events, fitness camps--the possibilities are almost unlimited.

Designing the specifics of a park on this site will require lots of community input. Many people will and should weigh in on exactly what a park would include. The possibilities are many. There are already a couple of plans that have been proposed by some local residents. Look at www.olehansonbeachpark.com and www.imaginesc.com.

Completion of this park can be the catalytic opportunity that will provide the property owners in North Beach a reason to continue to invest in San Clemente.

Historic buildings surrounding an ocean-view park with parking included. A gateway to our city that we can all be proud of. Now is the time. Complete the park!

Please send me your comments. Address them to me at BakerB@san-clemente.org  All good ideas are welcome.

Lindsey Hanson July 27, 2011 at 08:41 PM
As long as I can I buy things there and stuff my face?
Sam La Sala July 27, 2011 at 11:45 PM
Councilman Bob Baker has correctly read the Measure A tea leaves: open space at North Beach, and let's have that open space, in the form of a park. Bob has taken the political risk to get out in front on this. Let's hope that when he looks over his shoulder, at least two, and preferably four of his colleagues are there too. Referendums are a pure expression of the popular will.
Bill S July 27, 2011 at 11:49 PM
Finally we have a council member that stands up and speaks his mind and it happens to coincide with the residents wishes! Good Work Bob!
juniel August 04, 2011 at 10:22 PM
Bob Baker cannot get the park by himself. He needs help. Help him get re-elected with other candidates that will give him support. I personally like the idea of when upgrading the Beach Club to add an area with a nice restaurant with an ocean view. It was the idea of a nice restaurant that got many people to vote Yes on A.
Kathleen Ward August 05, 2011 at 02:06 AM
Councilman Baker: How much is the contract to maintain the current boundaries of the park and the landscaping in the parking lot? That was a major concern with the GPAC members. They thought they had to watch out for the funding of an extension to Ole Hanson. Just what are the facts about maintenance? We want to know about this. I wasn't immediately FOR a park. I thought, ah, no big deal. California beachfront. A park? Too simple minded. Well, what else would tie the area together, not HURT the businesses around, but actually make them MORE valuable, and keep with the recreational use of that area that many, many people are using North Beach for? A park -- plaza. Whatever you want to call it -- whatever vision the PEOPLE come up with. I have great confidence in the people of San Clemente that they KNOW what makes this a great place to live. We need to start the dialogue. There are some ideas flowing out there, but they are not getting the chance. Sorry, but many thousands of dollars for consultants, and we are getting a limited view and it may not be OUR view.
Jenifer Massey November 09, 2011 at 05:02 PM
Bob - Thank You ! What can we, who support a park at North Beach, do now to make Ole's and San Clemente's dream come true ?
Allison Winters October 18, 2012 at 03:47 AM
He votes “NO” to everything good, bad or indifferent. Bob Baker#1 is anti- environmental, anti-kids, anti-business, anti-art, anti historical preservation, anti-everything. You would think Bob Baker #1 hates San Clemente by the way he votes “No” to everything that is good and wonderful about San Clemente. He shows a total lack of vision & has the worst job performance record of any city council person in the history of San Clemente ever!
Kathleen Ward October 18, 2012 at 03:52 AM
Allison, welcome to the conversation on North Beach! There are many people who think a park plaza supporting our historic buildings would breath the life and vitality needed to revitalize this area. There are many citizens who have come up with wonderful ideas that could be implemented here. Bob Baker was starting the conversation on this and I have heard that residents in north beach are getting together to bring ideas forward and provide a cohesive approach. I hope to join them. You should do that, too. The community should save North Beach. The Casino has been a great start. Now the beach club is being renovated. I wish it was the Miramar. We all look forward to that day.

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