Having turned the corner on a new year, the district manager for Enhance La Jolla Maintenance Assessment District (MAD) noted real progress is being made on community beautification.
“We’re striving to make physical improvements to the Village,” MAD manager John Unbewust told the La Jolla Village Merchants Association Jan. 8. “In order to do that, we have developed a streetscape plan over the last four or five months that is ready for public viewing.”
Enhance La Jolla’s new streetscape plan for future maintenance work was unveiled Jan. 16 at a public meeting sponsored by the La Jolla Town Council at the La Jolla Rec Center.
“We also hope to attract private dollars to fund some of the aspects of the streetscape plan,” added Unbewust, who has been managing the La Jolla MAD since it took effect Oct. 1, 2019.
The retired engineer noted the La Jolla MAD, early on, has tackled some of the “low-hanging fruit” in cleansing the Village, doing a better job with the basics like picking up trash, weeding and washing sidewalks.
But Unbewust noted problem areas, like leftover dog poop, remain. He said the goal is to bid adieu to poo.
“We still have a problem with dog droppings,” he said. “One of our vendors has a pooper scooper that they’ve been using to scoop up what’s left on the sidewalks, preventing it [excrement] from getting in the storm system, especially after heavy rains.”
Thus far, La Jollans in a random survey were pleased by the new MAD’s performance.
“I think they [Enhance La Jolla] are doing an excellent job and there is so much more to come from this group,” said Brett Murphy, co-owner of La Jolla Sports Club. “I applaud their efforts and the effectiveness of them. Thank you to all of those who were involved and continue to be involved in this organization.”
Unbewust pointed out tangible strides have been made in polishing the jewel.
“It’s a new vision, and a new look, for the Village,” he said. “Over the last three months, we have made a dent in all the clean-up work that needs to be done, like at the corner of Pearl Street and Fay Avenue, which was a scuzzy corner and actually shines today. Elsewhere in the Village, we are getting to the heavy-duty stuff, like the major tree and bush trimming.”
La Jolla’s MAD manager noted many trash receptacles in the Village are “rusted out or look ratty. It’s time to replace those metal containers with concrete trash receptacles. We’ve done about seven so far.”
Unbewust promised that if people walk around the Village and look around, that they will “feel good, just as I do, that positive improvements are being made.”
Passed by La Jollans in 2016, the MAD is a legal mechanism by which property owners assess themselves to pay and receive services above and beyond what the city normally provides.
After its passage, the La Jolla MAD was barred from being implemented until the end of 2019, by a lawsuit filed by a landlord group known as the La Jolla Benefits Association. LJBA argued the MAD was unlawful because it essentially constitutes a second tax on services the city is already obligated by its charter to provide.
The La Jolla MAD case remains under appeal.