By Dave Schwab
La Jolla Shores residents say they endorse erecting a “Welcome to La Jolla” sign at the community’s gateway, but hope it could be customized to acknowledge their neighborhood.
Discussion over the La Jolla Community Foundation’s proposal to create a welcome sign across the pedestrian bridge on Torrey Pines Road at La Jolla Shores Drive with privately donated funds, took place at the La Jolla Shores Association’s (LJSA) March 14 meeting.
“I don’t object to a sign with La Jolla on it,” said Shores resident Patrick Mower, “but the ‘welcome to’ part leaves me cold.”
He pointed out that other community monument signs, like Hillcrest and Normal Heights, have just the name. The Jewel’s proposed sign “doesn’t fit with other neighborhood signs,” Mower said.
LJSA board member Mary Coakley expressed concern that the proposed sign did not mention La Jolla Shores. “It’s such a special community and merchants are concerned that people don’t know The Shores is there. Maybe they could put a sign with an arrow straight ahead for La Jolla (Village), and to the right for La Jolla Shores,” she said.
The La Jolla Shores merchants are working on branding the Avenida De La Playa commercial strip as “a beach business district,” and have chosen a dolphin for their sign logo because “it’s a friendly symbol” and “kids love them.” The Shores merchants are also looking into putting small banner signs on light poles in the district to direct visitors to beach businesses.
LJSA chair Audrey Keane said the “Welcome to La Jolla” sign, as depicted on LaJollaVoices.com, the new online community bulletin board hosted by the La Jolla Light, looks “big and neon.” She noted most negative comments shared about the sign say “it doesn’t convey the character of the beach,” or that “money should be spent elsewhere.”
Keane questioned whether a welcome sign is best positioned “right on the bridge?”
“Maybe the sign should be in the median and not up above,” added board member Janie Emerson.
Board member Bernie Segal suggested, “Maybe there should be two signs, one saying La Jolla Village and one saying La Jolla Shores.”
Looking at the bigger picture, Coakley said, “La Jolla Shores merchants are desperately trying to figure out ways to market their business district, so let’s think about what we’d like to see in a sign and bring some ideas to the next meeting.”
When asked about the status of the sign project after the meeting, Phyllis Pfeiffer, Light publisher and Chair of the La Jolla Community Foundation, said the sign is on hold pending further discussion.
From the feedback received on La Jolla Voices, the respondents appear to be split on the concept of a sign with few in favor of the proposed design.
“If the community decides it wants a sign with a different design, the Foundation can ask the donor if there is still an interest in funding the project,” Pfeiffer said.
Bob Kelly, president/CEO of The San Diego Foundation, a philanthropic nonprofit fostering civic leadership, and the umbrella foundation of the La Jolla Community Foundation, noted that the climate under which community improvements are undertaken is changing.
“In the past few years, private-public partnerships (to implement community goals) have become increasingly common as we experience city and state budget issues,” Kelly said. “It is important to remember that these agreements are partnerships to enhance the quality of life for San Diegans throughout the region.”