Mobility Commission Chairman Howard Somers and San Diego Bike Coalition representative Andy Hanshaw were on hand to accept the Mayoral Proclamation honoring May as National Bike Month. May 5 is designated as Bike to School Day, which many kids in Coronado do daily, and SANDAG Bike Anywhere Week is May 16 to 22. The San Diego region has more than 1,644 miles of bikeways, and is one of the best places in the country to bike. It was also noted that 2019 saw a dramatic increase in bike riding during the pandemic.
Public Works Week was announced, as the mayor read a proclamation honoring our public works professionals who are vital to sustaining the rebuilding, improving, and protecting transportation, water facilities, public buildings, and other areas. 2021 marks the 61st year for this annual Public Works recognition week, sponsored by the American and Canadian Public Works Associations, which is May 16 through 22. Director of Public Services and Engineering Cliff Maurer praised his team and especially Streets Division Lead Maintenance Worker David Eastlick, who helps maintain the streets in Coronado, citing that we have some of the nicest roadways anywhere.
A proclamation, proclaiming May as Historic Preservation Month, was given to Coronado Historical Association Vice President Art Wilcox and Historic Resource Commission Chairman Dave Sweeney. Historical preservation is vitally important in Coronado to maintain the historical homes in the city. This designated month is co-sponsored by the City of Coronado, the Coronado Historical Association, Coronado MainStreet Ltd., and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
The big topic of the meeting was the Winn Room renovation, which was presented by PSE Director Maurer and Library Director Shaun Briley. Maurer pointed out that the functionality of libraries has changed dramatically in the past 50 years and said this would be a multi-function room designed to meet future needs. He discussed the history of the room, which was completed in 1973, and has needed updating for years, due to structural issues involving capacity constraints, poor acoustics, and poor visibility due to low ceiling height. In January 2020, the council approved a feasibility study, and they retained the firm of M.W. Steele Group who also oversaw previous updates on the library, including the Spreckels Reading Room. Ultimately, five concepts were presented, from small changes to expansive options, and the council then directed staff to solicit public input. A broad-based community committee was established and public forums held with the selection narrowed down to three options, which were ultimately consolidated into two choices.
Briley pointed out that the Winn Room is the only free space for community groups of its size, and it is used by 40 groups on a regular basis, with last year being the exception due to the pandemic. There is often a need for larger capacity, with it currently accommodating 100 people, so the new designs will allow for 200 to 240 guests. Concept B was the option preferred by the committee and community members who sent in public comments and spoke during oral communication. He cited that 80 percent of the public was in favor of expansion with 65 percent preferring option B. Briley described the design as fitting seamlessly with the existing building, with minimal visual impact from the front, with the inclusion of an elevating roof for enhanced acoustics and movable wall for various event configurations. He also said there is an optional proposed terrace. Preliminary cost estimates range from $6 to $7 million.
Each of the councilmembers had questions about the project. Councilmember Donovan asked if this would cause loss of historic designation, to which Community Development Director Rich Grunow said that would be up to the council. Councilmember Heinze asked about the availability of the Nautilus Room, which has the capacity for larger events, but was told that it was fully booked for weddings and other events. Councilmember Sandke asked how many trees would need to be removed for the project and was told four trees, including a Canary Island Pine, two New Zealand Christmas Trees, one Melaleuca, and possibly a fifth Coral Tree. Councilmember Tanaka said he walked the site with a tape measure and asked about the current square footage versus the proposed size. He estimated the Winn Room at 1500 square feet (sf) and was told the new room would be 3045 sf, with a total of 4750 sf including all the areas. He showed a google image of the area and wondered why none of the renderings showed the surrounding trees, which he and the other councilmembers were hesitant to lose. He indicated that he felt the planning process was driven more by emotion than data. Mayor Bailey mentioned that the city currently pays $300,000 to CUSD for use of its facilities, and is spending money to update audiovisual equipment in the theater, and wondered about greater community use of those facilities.
There was no doubt that the entire council concurred that the Winn Room needed updating, but they were wary of the hefty price tag and impact to the adjacent park. They unanimously agreed with the mayor’s motion to direct staff to conduct a room inventory and needs assessment for all the spaces in Coronado and bring it back for review before moving forward.
The timeline, if and when the project moves forward, after approval, would be to award the contract to M.W. Steele Group to start the final design process, which would take approximately 14 months, making it ready for bids summer 2022. Maurer said that at about 65 percent of the way into design, it can come back to the council for input, and then again for final approval prior to going out to bid for construction.
Assistant City Manager Dominique Albrecht introduced the 2021 Legislative Policy Guidelines with presentations by David Jones and Kyra Ross, from Emanuels Jones & Associates. Jones noted that state revenues are up $17 billion over projections, with money from the American Recovery Plan greatly contributing to the surplus. They outlined the many upcoming legislative bills, with 100 bills focused on housing and land uses, that would impact Coronado. Highlights include Senate Bill (SB) 9, sponsored by Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, a rerun of SB 1120, which would allow one home parcel to be split into two homes with two additional ADUs; SB 1, also by Senator Atkins, would establish state and regional sea level rise collaboration; and Assembly Bill (AB) 215 seeking to enforce mandated RHNA numbers. The Legislative Policy Guidelines, which provide direction to staff and legislative lobbyists, was unanimously approved with the addition of Councilmember Sandke’s suggestion of creating a commuter ferry service to North Island.
The Quarterly Projects Update was also presented by Albrecht who outlined the 52 active projects and eight completed projects. The council applauded city staff for their ongoing efforts to enhance Coronado. Highlights of in progress projects include Integrated Citywide Financial Management Control System, WHNA litigation appeal, Utility Undergrounding, Golf Course Water Recycling and Turf Care Facility, and the Cays Park Rehabilitation Master Plan. Completed projects include the newly renovated Mathewson Park Universal Playground, Parking Meter Replacement Project, Community Center and City Hall HVAC Chiller upgrade, and the COVID-19 Community Testing Site.
The Council considered a request proposed by Councilmember Tanaka for CPD to switch to electric vehicles but felt it was best to let departments decide which vehicles are best for them, and this would be good to incorporate into the Climate Action Plan.