Décor plan could ignite holidays in La Jolla’s downtown area

By Kathy Day

A new holiday décor plan is shaping up in the Village that will start with an effort to line the rooftops of buildings in the four-block area along Girard Avenue between Torrey Pines Road and Prospect Street.

James Niebling of Esteban Interiors, who on Friday was out walking around the asking business owners’ to participate, is leading the holiday décor committee for the La Jolla Village Merchants Association. On Oct. 12, he presented a “five-year roadmap” that he said he hopes will make La Jolla a “magical” place people talk about and want to visit during the holidays.

This year, he said, is about “newness” — the roofline lighting in a small area to start and beginning to replace the shooting stars that have been used for years. He presented a new design that “celebrates all holidays” and even could be used at Fourth of July. One will go in at the corner of Torrey Pines Road at Prospect Street and one at Torrey Pines and Girard Avenue, he said.

After his presentation, with brief reference to plans for future years that include wrapping palm trees, snowflake lighting and an image-projection system, the LJVMA board approved spending up to $30,000 to get the ball rolling.

Niebling, with his partner Esteban Lopez and Egon Kafka of the La Jolla Village Lodge, will coordinate the effort. Any business owners or landlords who have not been contacted about the roofline lighting should contact Neibling at (858) 729-0045 or Kafka at (858) 551-8014.

Kafka is also working independently on his own project to wrap palm trees in lights as he has already done at the lodge at the corner of Silverado and Herschel.

The LJVMA elected six board members, including newcomers Niebling, Debbie Newell of Adelaide’s, Anthony Scoma of Scoma Pediatric Dentistry, and returning directors Kate Brainard of Pharmaca, Claudette Berwin of Gallery Properties and Leon Chow of C & H Photo.

Pending appeals, which must be submitted by 5 p.m. on Oct. 20, they will be seated at a special meeting at 8:30 a.m. Oct. 25 at the La Jolla Woman’s Club. Seventy-eight valid ballots were tallied; 1,237 were sent out.

In other action, the merchants association board:

• Failed to get the necessary quorum of 50 members to hold an annual meeting, but conducted its business at a special board meeting, drawing a plea from President Phil Coller for people to get involved if only for a few hours a month;

• Heard a report from Mike Dorvillier on plans for the La Jolla Concours D’Elegance, an expansion of the Motor Car Classic that will cover three days and include more activities aimed at supporting local businesses;

• Asked that the La Jolla Town Council handle fundraising for the Season’s Greeting lighting at the overpass on Torrey Pines Road;

• Gave its blessing to an effort to suspend the summer construction moratorium so work can be expedited at the Children’s Pool lifeguard tower;

• Supported a request from La Jolla Brewhouse owners William and Claudette Mannix to endorse their application for live music.

At the next meeting, the board will consider proposals for upgrading the hanging flower baskets throughout the Village.