Our view: Village merchants off on the right foot, but step carefully

As the La Jolla Village Merchants Association moves into its first full year of operation, they deserve a pat on the back and a word of caution.

They’ve set out an ambitious plan to tackle the ills of the Village business district — lack of maintenance over the past couple of years and continuing economic pressure — and to bring back the panache the community has lost.

As Phil Coller, the group’s president, said Tuesday, they have “flattened out” the organizational structure so that people can focus on finite issues. But that revised structure still includes three pages of assignments.

That’s where our caution comes in: Focus on the most important first and don’t get carried away by trying to do too much too soon.

A case in point was last week’s Gallery Wine Walk & Taste, which drew its smallest crowd ever and likely cost the organization some money.

We like what we’re hearing and seeing. New holiday lights were fired up at some stores Monday night — the first of what we hope will be many. A subcommittee is working on bringing music to the Village; another is organizing to attract new businesses. There’s a new La Jolla website in the works and a partnership formed with the Historical Society to get the merchants more involved in a bigger and better Concours D’Elegance (formerly the La Jolla Motor Car Classic).

But the biggest project, just mentioned in passing Tuesday, is supporting an effort that could reshape “The Dip” at Prospect Street into a new “heart” for La Jolla. It’s an exciting concept, but one that could easily overwhelm the group.

So heed our caution please. The Village needs all the work you’re putting in — and more. So if you’re a member of the Business Improvement District, get involved. These volunteers need your help.