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Reviewing the year in Bird Rock

BY JOE LaCAVA

As I write my final viewpoint as president of the Bird Rock Community Council, I reflect on how much our neighborhood has done over the past two years and I am grateful for the positive energy that has allowed us to achieve so much.

It was nearly two years ago that we completed the boulevard construction and marveled at how the partnership of residents, merchants and the city had transformed the heart of Bird Rock. Alas, the economy quickly took away some of that joy and the merchants continue to be challenged. “Shop locally” is now the mantra as we recognize that vibrant merchants are an important part of our neighborhood’s quality of life.

Public art made its first appearance as Jane Wheeler transformed decrepit concrete benches into works of art. We cleaned up our act with several new doggie stations and public trash cans. We are tackling the ill-suited boulevard landscaping and working with the city to repair/replace the pedestrian crossing flashing lights.

November saw the opening of the Bird Rock History Museum. Resident Philomène Offen took a curiosity and turned it into a major showcase housed in Bird Rock Coffee Roasters. Make sure to drop by and learn about Bird Rock over the past 100 years.

Space prevents me from listing all our accomplishments or singling out all the volunteers that made it happen. Come see for yourself by visiting Bird Rock’s merchant district and participating in BRCC’s events.

Despite these achievements there is still more to be done. We need to get smarter about discouraging opportunistic crime and to find a compassionate balance between safety and respecting the homeless. We need to monitor medical marijuana dispensaries to make sure they integrate as safely into our neighborhood as a pharmacy or a doctor’s office. The proliferation of oversized vehicles has become an intrusion on some of our residential streets. The unintended consequence of “virtual companies” and the difficult economy has resulted in more home-based businesses; that is generally fine, but not when they are accompanied by oversized commercial vehicles.

We look forward to working with Councilmembers Lightner and Faulconer for legislative solutions to these issues.

I am thankful for the opportunity to have been of service to the Bird Rock residents and merchants.