The event, held at Coasterra Restaurant on Harbor Island, drew more than 300 friends, neighbors and Peninsula supporters to chat, drink and eat Cohn group executive chef Deborah Scott’s delicacies.
Mayor Kevin Faulconer highlighted the event by presenting the coveted PLA Lighthouse Award to Scott McMillin and the Corky McMillin Cos. for their visionary execution of Liberty Station, the former Naval Training Center.
Second District Councilwoman Lorie Zapf presented the PLA with a City of San Diego $5,000 grant for its next median refurbishment project. Captivating auctioneer Rosemary Rodgers then engaged giving patrons for further support.
PLA chair Clark Anthony noted the group is a non-profit comprised of volunteers committed to enhancing the quality of life in the Peninsula of San Diego advocating beautification, education, communication, charitable activities and civic collaboration.
Anthony said PLA's mission statement is a “living document being massaged now and then as our priorities and goals shift.”
“We are thrilled and thankful for the success of our most recent dinner gala,” Anthony added. “The money raised at that annual event, plus the dues from hundreds of family and business members, generate funds for our volunteer organization to keep working. When we embark on new, large projects, we rely on major private donations and grants from the City and the County – appropriate because we are beautifying public land.”
Anthony pointed out year-round maintenance of its projects in public spaces is expensive.
“That’s where dinner funds and membership dues kick in with watering, planting, pruning, mulching, repairing irrigation, hiring professionals to trim palm trees – that’s where the money goes,” he said.
Immediate past PLA president Robert Tripp Jackson said plans are under way to transform a median near Point Loma High School in the memory of late teacher Kevin Gormly, who succumbed to cancer recently at age 51.
“It would be nice to do something for him, and we're looking into maybe laying some tile and other work in conjunction with one of the classes, kind of a contribution to his (Gormly's) tenure at PLHS,” Jackson said.
PLA board member Cecilia Carrick pointed out the group is engaged on a number of civic fronts.
“PLA has a small committee of volunteers (Dick Lareau, Byron Wear, Kerri de Rosier, Ned Daugherty and myself) that has been evaluating several prominent local artists in order to commission a public art piece for the Nimitz Boulevard between the Famosa Bridge and West Point Loma Boulevard,” she said. “We are now in the process of running our short list of six artists with Christine Jones, City of SD Commission for Arts and Culture. As soon as the Commission vets the artists, we plan to present several different artist concepts to the Peninsula community for their input.”
Carrick noted 22 local businesses and groups are also now involved with PLA's Welcome Home Squadron 11 Banner program to create welcome home banners for the submariners returning from lengthy deployments.
She added new business supporters continue to join the program, ordering banners to display. The most recent to join the fold are West Side Tap House and Tech Outfitters.
“According to several Navy commanders, they know of no other communities that have undertaken such a direct and creative expression of support and appreciation of their locally based sailors,” Carrick said.