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Enhance La Jolla to help plant three new trees as part of community partnership

The Enhance La Jolla board meets at the La Jolla Woman's Club to discuss a tree planting project, new members and more
The Enhance La Jolla board meets at the La Jolla Woman’s Club to discuss a tree planting project, new members and more on Oct. 20.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

More trees may be coming to The Village’s Cultural Zone through a partnership between Enhance La Jolla, the La Jolla Rotary Club, the La Jolla Garden Club and the La Jolla Woman’s Club. Enhance La Jolla will plant, fertilize, trim and maintain the trees after the other three organizations each donate one to be planted.

Enhance La Jolla is a nonprofit that manages The Village Maintenance Assessment District with authority to enhance city-provided services, 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, public art and tree canopies on main thoroughfares.

MAD Manager Mary Montgomery explained at the Enhance La Jolla quarterly meeting at the La Jolla Woman’s Club on Oct. 20 that the groups had been meeting to discuss adding new trees to replace some that were diseased and had to be removed more than a decade ago.

As a result of these meetings, “Silverado [Street] is going to have three new Chinese Elm trees, hopefully. We are still waiting for final approval from the city [of San Diego] to confirm it is a tree that can be planted,” Montgomery said. “We don’t want anything in the ground we have to rip up. But the guidance we have from the city says that type of species can go in that type of location.”

But for the donor groups, only a Chinese Elm will do.

La Jolla Woman’s Club representative Pat McGill said, “We want to make it clear we don’t want anything but Chinese Elm, period. If they want us to do jacarandas, the deal is off.” Motioning to a large jacaranda tree just outside the Woman’s Club building, she said the sidewalk space would not be able to accommodate the size that jacarandas can reach. “They are gorgeous in their place, but then they bloom for a few days and drop all their flowers that you can slip on,” she said.

McGill said the need to replace the trees came after “the city took diseased palm trees out but left the stumps” and that she had filed requests over the last few years on the city’s Get It Done app. “We are in the Cultural Zone [of historic and culturally centered facilities], but we have been ignored by the city. It’s only the volunteers of this club that have kept the roof over this building.”

Montgomery said once the city green lights the tree type, she hopes to get the planting done as soon as possible.

Chinese Elm trees, like those that Enhance La Jolla plans to help plant next to La Jolla Woman's Club.
Chinese Elm trees, like those that Enhance La Jolla plans to help plant next to La Jolla Woman’s Club.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

Other Enhance La Jolla news

Annual election: The board held its annual election over the last few weeks, during which those who sought reelection ran unopposed. However, commercial property owner Leon Kassel and La Jolla Village Merchants Association representative Nancy Warwick termed out. Filling their respective seats are Rick Sparks, who is part of the community ownership of the Warwick’s and Chase Bank buildings, and Geppetto’s toy store owner Brian Miller.

“We very much appreciate it when citizens join our board, so we are glad you have you. It’s wonderful to have you … we look forward to working with you,” said Enhance La Jolla present Ed Witt. To Kassel and Warwick, he added that the two are “both amazing people that have been very helpful to us. We’re going to miss your guidance and your counsel.”

Tree well repair: A project to fill in tree wells that started on Girard Avenue is moving to Ivanhoe Avenue, “specifically the three wells across from the post office,” Montgomery said. “Two of these tree wells are completely empty and the third has … a very mature tree in it. So the effort there is to make the tree wells look like the ones in front of the Athenaeum, which we did in 2020, with river rock and iris plants.”

The addition of river rocks into empty tree wells is intended to improve aesthetics, reduce places to drop litter and mitigate trip hazards.

Montgomery said the materials had been ordered and work will begin the first week of November and culminate within a week of being started.

Wayfinding wrapping: By the end of the year, progress is expected on a project to paint and/or wrap in decorative vinyl San Diego Gas & Electric utility boxes with wayfinding (directional) signage or other La Jolla-centered art.

The effort has been underway as a collaboration between Enhance La Jolla and the La Jolla Village Merchants Association.

After SDG&E said the wrapping would not be permitted, representatives from both La Jolla organizations explored painting or establishing a hybrid of wrapping and painting.

In his communication with SDG&E, Enhance La Jolla member Steve Warfield said he learned one option would be to paint the top and apply panels to the four sides so they can be accessed, but each box would need to be inspected before they can proceed.

“That’s where we stand today, so [La Jolla Village Merchants Association] is following one path and I’m following another path and hopefully in the next 60 days we will meet somewhere in the middle where we can do a hybrid of painted wayfinding on the top and wrapping on the sides,” he said.

Next meeting: Enhance La Jolla meets quarterly. The next meeting is at 4 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 19, at a location to be determined. Learn more at enhancelajolla.org. ◆