Civic report: La Jolla Village Merchants Association, Dec. 12
by Dave Schwab
Dec 20, 2012 | 2642 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
At its December meeting, the La Jolla Village Merchants Association (LJVMA) heard an urgent plea for donations to remodel a police satellite station, as well as plans to outfit the group’s new visitor center and progress being made to beautify Coast Boulevard overlooking Children’s Pool.

The merchant group also discussed ripe opportunities for promoting the downtown Village presented by the 2013 Farmers Insurance Open golf tournament coming to Torrey Pines Jan. 21-27.

• San Diego Police Department Northern Division Capt. Brian Ahearn appeared before LJVMA’s board asking for its endorsement and financial support from the La Jolla community for ongoing efforts to remodel the office in Pacific Beach that serves beach areas, which has fallen into disrepair.

“Right here in La Jolla, people have taken on this project to try and raise funds,” said Ahearn. “Some very basic, cosmetic things need to be done — bathroom repair, changing out the flooring, etc. I’m here to honor the 100 cops and detectives in Northern Division. This project is about them.”

Ahearn called the conditions in the office “deplorable” and “disgusting,” saying the sink in one restroom fell off the wall and cracked, after which it was reattached with Bondo.

“For us to come and ask you for help is a complete paradigm shift for us,” he said.

The remodel of the office will break ground in January, Ahearn said, calling this round of pleas for funds the “last and final push.”

“We can’t justify having this money sitting in an account when cops over there are in those ugly conditions,” he said. “Help us out. I’ll take nickels and dimes.”

LJVMA president Phil Coller said the group would post a notice about the opportunity for donations in the new La Jolla Information Center.

“We’d be happy to see the police popping in there from time to time to get a feeling for what’s going on in the community,” Coller said.

• Sheila Fortune, LJVMA’s executive director, gave an update on the move into the new information center, which is taking the place of the old visitor’s center kiosk on Herschel Avenue.

“Someone’s donated all the technology, 20 flat-screen TVs, which we’re going to have in the front to do our advertising,” she said.

Jan. 5 has been set as the date for the center’s soft opening.

Fortune said the space is still in need of equipment and furniture, which could cost between $25,000 and $50,000. The official unveiling of the center, Coller said, will take place just prior to spring break, giving the board time to continue to raise money.

• The Farmers Insurance Open is a golden opportunity to promote the La Jolla’s business community, Coller said, and one he said merchants should take every advantage of.

“This is an opportunity that shouldn’t be missed,” Coller said. “Tens of thousands of people, and at least 150 golfers who earn at least $1 million a year are coming with their attendants and families. This event will be on half a billion TV screens around the world. It’s almost an Olympic-size opportunity for business that’s spread right across the spectrum, and is not limited by any means to food.”

LJVMA board member Robert Lane from The Burger Lounge suggested it would be wise to provide shuttle service to facilitate people coming to the Village from Torrey Pines Golf Course.

Fortune said Farmers Open visitors coming into La Jolla will be looking for “an experience. We need to step up and provide it for them.”

Store hours will be extended and there will be live music, discounts and other enticements extended by merchants to golf tournament guests to encourage them to visit.

• La Jollan Phyllis Minick, who has led the charge for more than a year to raise funds for beautification of the sidewalk and other streetscape on Coast Boulevard, told the LJVMA the groundwork for project construction is being laid.

“Presumably, demolition of the old lifeguard station will begin in mid-May next year,” she said. “But there is no plan — and no money — to do anything about the sidewalk, which is pretty much a disaster.”

Minick said her family has donated money for development of a design plan, which landscape architect Jim Neri is working on.

“We need to raise approximately $250,000,” said Minick. Benches with named plaques going for $35,000 is one way she hopes the remaining funds can raised.

Board members suggested plaques might be easier to sell if they could include more than just one name, and Minick said Neri suggested donor names could also be inscribed on cobblestones on the path lining the boulevard.

The next LJVMA meeting will be Jan. 9 at 8:30 a.m. www.lajollabythesea.com.
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