By Dave Roberts
Imagine how you would feel if you were going to lose a neighborhood treasure. You would think about the memories. You would think about your quality of life. You would wonder why it was happening and what you could do to stop it.
Residents of Rancho Bernardo faced that very scenario last fall at Webb Park — a public park on private land. The centerpiece of the park, Webb Lake, was at risk of being filled in and converted to a desert landscape because the water bills were too high.
Over the next several months, a local resident launched a campaign to save Webb Lake. The resident, Scott Lawn, proposed drilling a well to keep the lake full. His idea was a good one — crews struck abundant water this week — and his follow-through shows how positive change can result when people work collaboratively and enlist support from government and business leaders.
Any community can find itself facing the loss of a treasured asset. If that’s the case, residents can take cues from RB’s campaign to save Webb Lake.
As president of the Rancho Bernardo Business Association, Lawn gathered support from business leaders, service groups and individual residents. He received backing from the city and a $45,000 grant from the county. In very little time, he amassed the funds needed to hire a drilling contractor.
Fast-forward to last Monday. At 405 feet below the grassy, four-acre park, Fain Drilling and Pump Co. workers reached water that issues from the well at 200 gallons per minute.
Those are great numbers.
“We expected we would have to go 1,200 feet deep and we were hoping for 50 gallons per minute,” Lawn said.
The united front that Lawn formed to save Webb Lake represents the best of Rancho Bernardo.
One of many enthusiastic e-mails he received came from Maureen Carew, general manager of Courtyard by Marriott Rancho Bernardo, which adjoins the park’s northern boundary.
“I can’t thank you enough for all you’ve done to Save Webb Lake and Park!” Carew wrote. “We hear daily from our guests how much they enjoy walking around the lake and park and seeing the beautiful view from our patio and guestrooms. You truly have saved one of RB’s favorite spots and for that, ALL of the Courtyard by Marriott staff and guests are grateful.”
Lawn said the installation of pipelines and pumping equipment and an overall sprucing up of the park should be finished in plenty of time for RB’s Spirit of the Fourth event in a few weeks.
I am so impressed by this great, collaborative effort to save an asset that is central to so many memories.
And I am reminded how great things can happen — in any community — when residents remain vigilant, work together, build relationships and engage their elected officials.