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La Jolla Village merchants group IDs utility box for wayfinding wrap

This utility box on the corner of Herschel Avenue and Silverado Street in La Jolla is planned for a wayfinding wrap.
This utility box on the corner of Herschel Avenue and Silverado Street is planned to be wrapped in material designed to help people find their way to La Jolla attractions.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

In a continued collaboration with Enhance La Jolla, which administers the Village Maintenance Assessment District, the La Jolla Village Merchants Association has identified the first of several utility boxes intended to be wrapped in images designed to help people find their way around.

The pilot location is a “massive” utility box near the bus stop at the corner of Herschel Avenue and Silverado Street that is to be wrapped with an image of a compass that points to local attractions.

“We are looking to kill two birds with one stone by beautifying our utility boxes and putting wayfinding right on them,” said LJVMA Executive Director Jodi Rudick. She added that she has seen some of the designs that will be presented to the association’s marketing committee in coming weeks.

Rudick said the pilot utility box “is really in our sights” because “it is the largest one in the area.”

LJVMA recently received $20,000 from San Diego County to help with the association’s wayfinding program, which involves placing directional signs throughout The Village to direct visitors to beaches and other area landmarks.

The program has been in development for years and has had several iterations. In addition to the wrapped boxes, 26 static signs are to be placed in strategic locations mapped by a “mobility expert,” Rudick said.

The county funding will be enough to wrap 10 utility boxes, with LJVMA and Enhance La Jolla working together to identify other locations.

Last month, Enhance La Jolla board member Tony Gild said “productive discussions” had been taking place on to how to beautify the utility boxes, which Gild called “ugly ducklings that are dotted all over The Village.”

Enhance La Jolla has authority to enhance services provided by the city of San Diego, including landscape maintenance, street and sidewalk cleaning, litter and graffiti abatement and additional trash collection. It also can privately fund and complete capital improvement projects in public spaces, such as trash can upgrades, bench installation, sign augmentation, park improvements, more public art, and tree canopies on main thoroughfares.

Other LJVMA news

“Lion King” recap: Several “Lion King"-themed events have been held in The Village in recent weeks in a partnership with Broadway San Diego. Rudick said more than 100 people attended a trail cleanup, 40 attended a screening of Disney’s 1994 film “The Lion King” at the La Valencia Hotel, and at least 200 attended a “Circle of Life” art show.

A scavenger hunt to various galleries and shops lured 100 people. “We had people who said they had never walked inside some of the stores and galleries,” Rudick said. “We heard from the scavenger hunt attendees how gracious and welcoming the merchants were. One of the comments was, ‘I always thought La Jolla was very snooty, and I don’t anymore.’ To me, that is an important thing to leave people with.”

The La Jolla Village Merchants Association meets Aug. 10 at the La Jolla/Riford Library.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

Art & Wine Festival support: The LJVMA board heard a presentation at its Aug. 10 meeting about the upcoming La Jolla Art & Wine Festival and voted to send a letter of support to the city and have a booth at the event.

The festival will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 8-9, along Girard Avenue. The event is free, but tickets are sold to the wine and beer garden.

Festival founder Sherry Ahern said all 170 vendor booths are accounted for this year. “We sold out faster than we ever had,” she said. “We’re shocked and happy, because most festivals are older than us, so the fact that we’re on the map is huge.”

Proceeds from the event support La Jolla’s five public schools.

Storefront improvement: Latrell Crenshaw of the San Diego Economic Development Department said the city’s Storefront Improvement Program has been funded for this fiscal year. The 50/50 match program provides design assistance for small businesses. “We have contract architects that produce discount services and awesome designs,” Crenshaw said.

Eligible projects include repair, replacement or new applications of awnings, windows, doors, signs, lighting, paint, landscaping, tile or other decorative materials.

To learn more, email sdbusiness@sandiego.gov.

Next meeting: The La Jolla Village Merchants Association next meets at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14, at the La Jolla/Riford Library, 7555 Draper Ave. Learn more at lajollabythesea.com. ◆