City Offers New Hope for the Fire Pits

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Manny Cedeno

On one side you have San Diego's mayor saying we don't have enough money to keep the fire pits operational. On the other hand, residents say the fire pits are an integral part of San Diego culture.

Close to 200 fire pits were slated to be removed this summer to save the city of San Diego the cost of maintenance. 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.

San Diego city leaders aimed at shutting down public fire pits along the coast to trim about $120,000 a year from the budget.

The grassroots effort to raise money had an April 15 deadline which was later pushed back until May 7. On Friday, Mayor Jerry Sanders said the fire pit issue was about to be resolved and he would announce details about their future Monday.

Recently, residents of Ocean Beach discussed some options at the town council meeting. OB’s eight fire pits are among those slated for removal.  

Frank Gormlie, editor of the OB Rag, wanted OB community leaders to pass a resolution to save the fire rings. “Fire pits are an icon of Ocean Beach and of San Diego,” said Gormlie. “It would be a disaster for public relations and for the tourist trade if they were removed.”

Dan Allemeier with the OB Town Council agreed. “Sitting around a fire pit on the beach is something that is “very San Diegan in nature,” he said.

“We’re at the city’s mercy of having them removed,” Allemeier said.

In past years, community leaders have been able to find a way to privately fund the fire pits. They hope that can happen again this year.

“Until that money is found, we don’t know where to go,” said Allemeier.

The La Jolla Community Foundation has offered to spend about $5,000 a year to keep seven fire pits at La Jolla Shores operational, according to our online media partner The La Jolla Light.

In order for the deal to be sealed, other contributions need to come in to support fire pits on other local beaches, according to Pfeiffer.

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