Gaspar focuses on public safety in State of the City address


Encinitas Mayor Kristin Gaspar emphasized public safety projects such as the planned Moonlight Beach lifeguard station during her State of the City address on March 24 at the Encinitas Community Center.

During a 30-minute speech to a crowd of roughly 200, Gaspar said construction of the $3 million lifeguard station is slated to begin just after Labor Day this year. It’s scheduled to be finished by Memorial Day 2016.

“The new station will, of course, improve our public safety, but it will contain many more features than just the standard lifeguard tower,” Gaspar said.

She said it will have an indoor first-aid facility, “so patients no longer have to be treated on the sand” outside the tower. There will also be a discharge center, room for Sheriff’s deputies who partner with lifeguards and administrative space.

Lifeguard officials have said they’ve outgrown the current Moonlight Beach tower, which dates to the 1950s. It has a faulty roof and electrical problems.

Gaspar applauded the downward trend in crime. She noted that from 2013 to 2014 in Encinitas, violent crime fell 20 percent and property crime declined 16.5 percent.

“Job well done to our Sheriff’s Department,” she said.

On a similar note, she said local fire response times have fallen in Olivenhain, thanks to Fire Station No. 6, which debuted in 2012. By the same token, she added that upgrading Fire Station No. 1 should be prioritized.

“Like the lifeguard tower, it’s literally crumbling apart,” Gaspar said.

She also said the city is looking into soil cement, an alternative to a seawall, to stabilize Beacon’s Beach.

“The fragile condition of that bluff presents a clear danger to our citizens and also potential loss of beach access,” Gaspar said.

Plans in 2009 to shore up Beacon’s with a seawall were struck down by the state parks department, which said the structures aren’t consistent with its environmental policies.

Because they’re fixed structures, seawalls choke off a natural supply of sand over time. Soil cement, though, can be engineered to erode at roughly the same speed as the cliff, contributing some sediment.

This approach aims to strike a balance between “engineering and environmental needs,” Gaspar said.

She said the state parks department has supported soil cement and other potential stabilization measures laid out in a recent engineering study.

However, staff from the California Coastal Commission has voiced preliminary concerns with soil cement, because of the size of the project and construction duration.

“We need to work in close conjunction with the coastal commission and plan appropriately,” Gaspar said.

Also, she said the bulk of the city’s unfunded infrastructure projects are along the rail corridor, from train undercrossings to wayside horns, a system that’s quieter than a train’s multidirectional blasts.

“We need the council to focus in on doing something and executing that plan,” Gaspar said of the rail corridor.

Besides public safety, the mayor noted property and sales tax revenues are growing; the new Encinitas Community Park debuted in January; and the council is working to understand what improvements are needed to bring the recently purchased Pacific View property up to code for potential tenants.

The event included a presentation from Leucadia 101 Main Street board President Nick Winfrey, who also spoke on behalf of Encinitas 101 Main Street and Cardiff 101 Main Street. He highlighted economic development and art projects occurring along the Highway 101 corridor.

Also talking economic development was Encinitas Chamber of Commerce CEO Bob Gattinella. The chamber put together the event.

It also featured a “Love My City” youth video contest, a chance for children and teens to showcase what they treasure in their hometown.