Merchants eye vendors for sidewalk revitalization prototype
By Pat Sherman
During its March 13 meeting, the La Jolla Village Merchants Association (LJVMA) announced that its board is close to selecting a landscape architect to renovate a section of sidewalk in front of the new La Jolla Village Information Center. The board hopes the sidewalk will become a revitalization model to be replicated throughout the Village.
The project calls for redesigning the stretch of sidewalk from the Information Center down to La Valencia Hotel, setting a standard for trash receptacles, bike racks, benches, newspaper racks, lighting, tree grates, sidewalk pavers, public art, planters and crosswalk enhancements that the association hopes other merchants will aspire to replicate.
LJVMA board president Phil Coller said the organization interviewed four potential landscape architects, and that one has risen to the top, who seemed to “really get the concept and the message.”
A board-member selection committee will recommend a vendor and ask them to present their concept during the April 10 meeting.
“This can be a big thing for La Jolla,” Coller said, noting that the project would “set the tone” for the Village as the next Beverly Hills.
The LJVMA has yet to determine how much money it has to spend on the project, though Coller estimated it would cost about $150,000.
“We have a very high level of commitment from the property owners (who) own the sidewalk to contribute,” Coller said. “If we do it in the way that we saw in this presentation … it will allow us to go to all the property owners and say this is what we can do in front of your property — this is what we can do in La Jolla.”
In other Merchants Association news
Tourism grants: The LJVMA is in the second phase of its application for a roughly $48,000 Community Enhancement Grant from the County of San Diego, to be used to promote tourism in the Village. The LJVMA will attend an interview for the funding on April 5. The board also approved applying for Economic Development Tourism Support grant funds from the City of San Diego.
Info Center update: LJVMA Executive Director Sheila Fortune announced that a packet with rates and specs for advertising in the Information Center is now available. Advertising sales for newly installed TV monitors in the center at 1162 Prospect St. are increasing, she said.
However, money is still needed for chairs, computer equipment, conference room doors and other items.
Associate memberships: There was some discussion as to whether associate memberships should be granted to businesses located outside the La Jolla business improvement district, which are granted at the discretion of the board.
La Jolla Kayak (based in La Jolla Shores) and San Diego-based Sign Distinction (which created the Information Center sign), have both submitted applications and paid a $350 fee to become associate members.
Associate members receive all the perks of regular members, though they are not permitted to join the board. LJVMA board member Egon Kafka suggested that allowing businesses from outside La Jolla to become members could water down the LJVMA brand, and veer from its mission to promote the Village.
“Local businesses get priority, but if we can’t fill it up with outside businesses then we stretch it,” Fortune said.
The issue of whether to accept the sign company, as well as other businesses outside greater La Jolla, was tabled until the LJVMA’s April meeting.
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