Thanks, Anonymous

He may not be a regular beach goer, but he didn’t want to see the kids of San Diego deprived of beach bonfires.

That’s all Mayor Jerry Sanders would say about the anonymous donor who agreed to put up $259,500 to save the beach fire pits.

Mayor Sanders called a news conference Monday morning to announce that an anonymous donor had stepped in to help fund the pits until June 2010.  The San Diego Foundation will manage the money.

The city had begun the work of removing the fire pits last week in the hopes of saving the city thousands in maintenance fees.  Crews removed 18 pits from Fiesta Island. There will be some cost to put those pits back into place.

Last month, Mayor Sanders proposed removing 186 pits to save $173,000 in maintenance fees. The city staffs two full-time positions to take care of the pits that are cleaned weekly in the summer and biweekly in the winter, according to a published report.

Over the past 10 years, the number of fire pits on San Diego beaches has gradually declined. In 1990, the city had 450 rings; however many were removed in response to resident complaints and budget reductions. In fiscal year 2004, the City Council reduced the number of fire rings from 300 to 150; since that time, approximately 35 were replaced.

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