Enhance La Jolla to continue newspaper rack removal and utility box painting

Flower pots on Girard Avenue got some sprucing up from Enhance La Jolla.

It’s been a busy couple of months for the Enhance La Jolla board. Since it last met in July, the group has been at work on improvements in The Village, and it voted Sept. 17 to continue many of them.

Among its recent projects, the board — which administers the Maintenance Assessment District for The Village — has been taking inventory of blighted newspaper racks throughout La Jolla for possible removal, repainting San Diego Gas & Electric utility boxes, repainting bollards in the public right of way and improving landscaping.

Enhance La Jolla has the authority to “enhance” city-provided services, including landscape maintenance, street and sidewalk cleaning, litter and graffiti abatement and additional trash collection, and to privately fund and complete capital improvement projects in public spaces, such as upgraded trash cans, bench installation, sign augmentation, park improvements, more public art and tree canopies on main thoroughfares.

“We had a Zoom call with city representatives and we inventoried [newspaper racks]. We know where everything is, who owns it, and we decided to take the soft approach and contact people,” said Enhance La Jolla President Ed Witt. “We have had some great communication for the most part, have had a few that were not as cooperative as we would like, but we also took a ride around with La Jolla Golf Carts owner Robert Mackey, and he has volunteered to pick up 13 newsstands that we have agreed with the owners to pick up and take to trash.”

One idea is to move news racks into corrals in groups of six so they could be maintained more easily.

Further, under the care of new District Manager Mary Montgomery and volunteer Chris Cott (who helps cover graffiti in The Village), about a half-dozen SDG&E utility boxes have been repainted on Pearl Street and Girard Avenue, and MAD will continue to repaint about two a month going forward.

Utility boxes at Pearl Street and Girard Avenue are shown before a paint job by Enhance La Jolla.
Utility boxes at Pearl Street and Girard Avenue are shown before a paint job by Enhance La Jolla.
Utility boxes at Pearl Street and Girard Avenue after a paint job by Enhance La Jolla.
Utility boxes at Pearl Street and Girard Avenue after a paint job by Enhance La Jolla.

MAD also will tend to flower pots outside Village storefronts, with permission from the store or property owners.

“This is for receptacles that are completely neglected, filled with debris and dead weeds,” Witt said. “If we have pots that are dead and dying, we want to continue to improve them. We have done six or seven.”

Even during the pandemic, keeping The Village looking its best is paramount, Witt said.

“In these times, it’s extremely important we work closely with our property owners and retailers to ensure a successful return to whatever normal might look like,” he said. “We as MAD have to focus on presenting La Jolla as a place for people to invest in. When a prospective businessperson views La Jolla as an option for investment, even with closed businesses, we have to look professional and ready to go. We must look, from the outside, that we are strong, clean and ready for investment and ready for retail traffic.”

Other Enhance La Jolla news

Streetscape plan revision: La Jolla Community Foundation Chairwoman Phyllis Pfeiffer, who also is La Jolla Light president and general manager, said a streetscape plan would be broken into smaller pieces and implemented gradually.

Fundraising to implement the $10 million streetscape plan is underway. It would create a new public plaza at “The Dip” at the north end of Girard Avenue at Prospect Street and other changes to enhance The Village’s streets.

“The La Jolla Community Foundation decided to move forward with taking parts of the streetscape plan and start to do the work,” Pfeiffer said. “They felt it would be easier to raise money when we start doing the work. So the design committee is going to break it up into pieces as well as start to get us prices for parts of it. At this point we have $1.3 million in non-endowment funds, and that can go pretty far. That will get us the smaller pieces that we don’t have to rip up when we get the funds to do the bigger parts of the project. … The promenade on Prospect is going to be the wow factor, and we don’t want to piecemeal that out.”

Election results: In an election to fill four board seats, two board members were re-elected and two new members were voted onto the board.

Enhance La Jolla has 13 directors on its governing board. According to the organization’s bylaws, seven are owners (or representatives of owners) of commercial, residential and nonprofit properties paying the MAD assessment; three are board members of the La Jolla Community Foundation; one is a member of the La Jolla Village Merchants Association and two are representatives of the La Jolla community at large.

Kathryn Kanjo will continue as a nonprofit property owner representative and Andy Nelson will continue as a La Jolla Community Foundation representative. New members include residential property owner representative Ann Parode Dynes and at-large community representative Tony Gild.

Enhance La Jolla’s next meeting is scheduled for 4 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 21, via Zoom. Learn more at