Despite construction, La Mesa Village is still open for business

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Downtown La Mesa is a favorite destination spot for people to dine, shop and hang out. Its tree-lined streets, low-lying buildings and cobblestone streets invite people for a small town Main Street experience.

Since March of 2008, the City Council has been working behind-the-scenes to make the village even more attractive. The council authorized the allocation of $300K from the Downtown Parking Fund to prepare the Downtown Village Streetscape Improvement Program, according to the city’s website.

Downtown La Mesa is a favorite destination spot for people to dine, shop and hang out. Its tree-lined streets, low-lying buildings and cobblestone streets invite people for a small town Main Street experience.

Since March of 2008, the City Council has been working behind-the-scenes to make the village even more attractive. The council authorized the allocation of $300K from the Downtown Parking Fund to prepare the Downtown Village Streetscape Improvement Program, according to the city’s website.

Several public input workshops were held in 2009 and the City Council met for briefings and updates since then. Last July, the construction finally began. The end results will be new sidewalks rather than broken and cracked ones. There will also be more benches and trash receptacles. New lighting and upgrades on electrical outfitting will replace dangerous cords crisscrossing the streets and sidewalks during popular events like Christmas in the Village. La Mesa Village will become a safer place for pedestrians as well, with new street signs and crosswalks.

All businesses are still open during the construction, which will last through October. The city has been good about working with the merchants, according to the Moores, who own Park Estate Antiques on La Mesa Boulevard.

“Everyone’s business has had contact with the city as to the times and needs of the business so the work can have as little impact to the business as possible,” said Arlene Moore, president of the Merchants’ Association.

One of the biggest concerns of customers, however, is what happened to the trees.

“The trees before had seed pods, and they were always dropping on the sidewalks,” explained Moore.

The new trees to be planted will be selected after input from West Coast Arborists, which is the city of La Mesa’s tree maintenance contractor. The contractor will choose trees good for the urban environment, evergreen with low root damage potential and drought tolerant. Potential species for La Mesa Boulevard include Brisbane Box, cork oak, and true green Chinese elm. For Palm Avenue, there will be Mexican fan palms. The side streets will have slightly more ornamental, such as Chinese pistache and crape myrtle. The exact tree species will not be selected until the time comes to plant them.

During the construction, there is still plenty of free parking. The city has given the merchants and the residents that shop in the village free parking for two hours and is not collecting meter money as to mitigate the inconvenience. The block from the Republic Bank to the pharmacy is now completed, except for the trees that still need to be planted.

The city has also worked with the timetable of construction to accommodate the merchants’ association events as well.

“When the construction is all done, there will for sure be a celebration,” said Moore.

For updates on the improvements, go to www.cityoflamesa.com.

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