An all-volunteer, public nonprofit charity, beautifulPB, has a new board and a refined vision but the same mission: to create a sustainably beautiful Pacific Beach that other communities can emulate and replicate.
“We’re not working on a complete revamping of the organization but are trying to refocus our efforts to build some new momentum,” said new group president Katie Matchett, noting she’d like to tie in accomplishments from other civic groups in town “who’ve done a lot of great work.”
Pointed out Matchett: “We’re a little unique in that we have this focus on sustainability. Now we need to take that unique focus and figure out ways we can use that to benefit PB, and be a really efficient organization and achieve those goals.”
The new beautifulPB board also includes Joe Bettles, vice president; Matt Winter, past president; and board members Chris Olson, Paul Viani, Rick Menolez, Paula Gandolfo, and RJ Kunyz.
BeautifulPB recently completed two community projects: The sixth annual PB Counts of the community’s traffic mix in August, and a bike registration/community bike ride held earlier this month promoting public art murals and other PB highlights.
“Registering bikes is a way to prevent bike theft. It was a multi-purpose event in the community to get people out riding bikes and experiencing the community that way,” said Matchett. “We held our sixth annual PB Counts in August, where we do traffic counts with volunteers standing at locations in west PB near the beach along Cass and Garnet and into some residential neighborhoods.
“They report all the bikes, scooters, skaters – anything passing by to give us a sense of how people are moving around in PB. It gives us a snapshot of a typical summer weekend afternoon. And after six years, we can start to see what (traffic) patterns are developing.”
Matchett said beautifulPB is keenly aware of remaining true to its core mission.
“We do really want to continue to focus on sustainability and to have mobility and active transportation fit under that umbrella, getting people to get around by biking and walking rather than driving,” she said. “But we also want to incorporate a prominent and new focus on (achieving) equity. We want to take the lead and look for ways to promote equity in our community.”
Matchett noted the recent drive to rename a PB park for William Payne, the community’s first Black teacher, is a step in the direction beautifulPB wants to pursue. “We’re looking for other ways we can bring equity into the work we’re doing and promote equity in our community,” she said.
An effort has been underway for several years by beautifulPB to turn the beach community into a full-fledged EcoDistrict. An EcoDistrict is an urban planning term denoting the objective of attaining “sustainable development” while reducing the ecological footprint and impact of community projects. Since 2016, beautifulPB has been exploring pursuing EcoDistrict certification, a new process-based urban development standard for neighborhood-scale projects promoting both environmental sustainability and climate protection.
“The EcoDistrict, similar to LEED certification (for buildings), is one of the things we’re trying to sort out,” said Matchett. “There are a number of criteria that need to be met before you can become certified. We may continue to work through that process.”
BeautifulPB has another ultimate objective.
“We’re really working for ways to bring some value to our community,” concluded Matchett. “And we’re also working to find the time, money, and people to complete our projects.”