La Jolla Merchants Association still mum on location of new office space

By Pat Sherman

The La Jolla Village Merchants Association (LJVMA) is still hesitant to disclose the location of its new 2,500-square-foot office space on Prospect Street, pending finalization of lease negotiations and other details.

The new, larger quarters will house both LJVMA’s administrative offices and the La Jolla Visitor Information Center, the latter of which currently occupies a small frontage space near the corner of Herschel Avenue and Prospect Street.

• Village aesthetics

During its Sept. 12 meeting, LJVMA trustees discussed the condition of sidewalks, hanging flower baskets and other Village aesthetics, many of which trustees said are in need of greater upkeep.

The association’s new executive director, Sheila Fortune, said LJVMA is trying to take the lead on beautification issues, though it doesn’t have the income to tackle all the problems. As one possible solution, Fortune suggested the formation of a block beautification program, to which building owners would pay an assessment.

Trustee Egon Kafka said it is up to shopkeepers to sweep the sidewalk in front of their space, noting that “mom and pop” shops often do a better job maintaining public space than corporate-owned businesses.

“If people just keep expecting everything to be done for them, it’s never going to work,” said Kafka, who with his wife, Maureen, offered to pay for an additional month of upkeep of the hanging flower baskets in The Village.

In the end, the LJVMA voted to spend an additional $6,000 to maintain the baskets through the end of the year. Additional bids for annual maintenance have been coming in at less than $20,000 — a substantial reduction from the $25,000 cost stated during last month’s LJVMA meeting.

• Belvedere Promenade project

LJVMA trustees also voted to spend $3,000 for two conceptual renderings of the long- proposed Belvedere Promenade project, which would replace an existing one-way section of Prospect Street between Herschel and Girard avenues with an ocean-view pedestrian promenade.

The renderings, which will reflect changes to the landscape and parking based on a recently conducted survey, will be used for fundraising and educational purposes.

Approval of the funding was contingent upon the renderings being done digitally, so that any further changes can be made easily and affordably.

LJVMA recently took over stewardship of the Belvedere Promenade.

Merchants association trustee Robert Lane expressed some concern with the LJVMA taking on the project, noting that it lacks a timeline for completion and has no concrete budget.

“I would like to see how much money the organization is planning on spending on this project to the end, or until they hand it off to someone else,” Lane said, noting that the Belvedere Promenade has been on the table for decades and hasn’t had enough momentum to get off the ground.