Esplanade Roundabout Project
Dedicated member and past Vice-President Patrick Kelley spearheaded the beautification of the roundabout completed in 2015 after years of its initial proposal by RDMIA in 2003. Working with the County of Santa Cruz, the association successfully completed the project to bring a much-needed improvement to both the traffic flow and aesthetics of the Rio del Mar Beach area. The prominent feature of the project was the relocation of the Whaley Memorial monument sculpture.
A brief background:
Thomas E. Whaley, an engineer and Rio del Mar resident served as a RDMIA Board Member. In the mid-late 1970s, Mr. Whaley worked tirelessly on behalf of the community to help design the traffic improvements and medians along Rio del Mar Blvd during the construction of the Deer Park Center. Careful thought went into the design to ensure a safe pedestrian area for residents to walk to and from the new center. The Whaley sculpture is a slender, curved steel shaft supporting a seagull in flight standing approximately 14 feet tall. It’s original placement at the improved median was a welcome sight until over time the sculpture was dwarfed by trees surrounding the island.
Today, the Whaley Memorial monument stands proudly visible in the roundabout center surrounded by the low maintenance design with water wise planting and new palms. Mr. Whaley’s daughter, a RDM resident and the Whaley family is pleased to view the sculpture in it’s new home. A donor plaque is nestled in the landscape.