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Village cleanup slated to start just as construction is completed

Get ready for a cleaner Village, complete with trimmed trees, newly sealed streets, power-washed sidewalks and new hanging baskets.

That’s good news to merchants and residents who have been contending for months with construction dirt and equipment throughout La Jolla’s downtown area.

Wayne Woods, owner of Burns Drugs on Girard Avenue, is one of those business people who said last week he’s “glad to see there’s an end in sight. The streets have been dusty and dirty like the streets of Tombstone, but it needed to be done.""

The laundry list of things to get done is long, but the work is set to start even before the road crews leave town, and as Town Council President Rick Wildman put it: “Finally, La Jolla can start blooming again.”

Crews on Thursday started trimming 243 city trees, mostly palms, so that they don’t drop debris on the streets and sidewalks after the cleanup is done. Egon Kafka of the La Jolla Village Lodge, who helped identify which trees need trimming throughout the 30-block merchant district, said that once the tree crews are in town, he’ll keep an eye on the work.

Tree-trimmers will work on streets that the Basile Constrution crews have finished even as the sewer and water line repairs continue on other roads at the community’s request.

Assuming they’re done with construction, slurry-sealing and restriping the streets by the end of June — the agreed-to extension, the plan is to move in with sidewalk-cleaning equipment as soon as possible and then install new hanging baskets by July 4th, said Glen Rasmussen, one of the advisers to the La Jolla Business Improvement District who also chairs the community’s Streetscape Committee.

He said he’s exploring the possibility, suggested by Woods, that the company cleaning the sidewalks might be able to work with individual merchants who could pay to have their awnings and storefronts cleaned at the same time. He said he would get details out as soon as he has them.

The process involves using a boom to collect the water and then vacuum it up and filter it, Rasmussen added, noting that it makes sense to get it all done at once.

The city’s Office of Small Business, which began managing the business improvement district when Promote La Jolla’s contract was not renewed, is working to finalize the power-washing contract, Alicia Martinez-Higgs said during the June 9 LJBID meeting. It’s possible that two entities could share the work, she noted.

Last week, she announced that the bids to replace, replant and maintain 122 hanging bowl planters that will use less water than the wire baskets ranged from $17,467 to $85,649, with the low bid coming from San Diego-based BDG California, which is owned by La Jollan Casey Brown.

The funds to pay for the projects are from fees business owners have paid to the district since the suspension of Promote La Jolla’s contract with the city.

Martinez-Higgs also reported at the BID meeting that the city council has approved a budget of $167,000 for the merchant district for the coming year, on top of $95,000 being carried over that is just beginning to be spent.