By Pat Sherman
Despite delays in opening the La Jolla Village Merchants Association’s (LJVMA’s) new La Jolla Information Center at 1162 Prospect St., the association is making steady progress toward a grand opening the weekend of April 5-7, to coincide with this year’s Concours D’Elegance luxury auto show.
LJVMA President Phil Coller said the greatest challenge to getting the center open on time was splitting the LJVMA’s time between organizing both the center opening and events coinciding with the Farmers Insurance Open golf tournament in January.
Coller said LJVMA met its deadline to file for a grant of about $50,000 from the San Diego Office of Small Business. The money is key to help fund Information Center operations and expenses.
The San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau (formerly) received the grant to operate the now- closed La Jolla Visitor Center on Herschel Avenue. LJVMA should know whether the funding has been approved in April.
Despite the rains, Coller maintained the LJVMA’s inaugural event partnership with the PGA was successful.
“Even though we had probably the worst weather on record for the PGA event ... it was successful,” Coller said. “Our relationship with the PGA is excellent; they used La Jolla as overspill for some of the (parking areas) up near the golf course, which actually drove people here over the weekend.”
Coller said residents and visitors also took advantage of a shuttle service from the Information Center to the Torrey Pines Golf Course.
“It was successful, when it wasn’t raining, on the Haute La Jolla Nights,” he added.
Coller assured that LJVMA is already planning for next year’s golf tourney.
“We have been doing so many things at once — moving, the PGA, all sorts of other things ... that the actual organization of it was a little tough. So we are setting up a committee to look after it and are starting (to plan) for next year now.”
LJVMA still is in need of several items to complete the Information Center, including cash donations in any amount to finish internal doors, painting, flooring and a flagship remodel of about 100 yards of sidewalk in front of the center, down to La Valencia Hotel.
The center also needs glass doors and windows for an interior conference room.
“If anybody wants to just come by and have a look they can talk to (LJVMA Executive Director) Sheila Fortune and she will show them specifically what things we need,” Coller said.
The LJVMA is also seeking public input on how to best use the center’s front display windows, either for decorative, informational or commercial uses.
To send suggestions or offer assistance or a donation, e-mail Sheila Fortune at SFortune@lajollabythesea.com