Village Anchor project set to shed new light on Point Loma
After months of construction and installation, the Point Loma Association’s Village Anchor Lights project is expected to be completed by the end of 2021, according to Chairman Mike McCurdy. The display will feature a canopy of lights strung across two blocks of Rosecrans Street in the business district of Point Loma Village.
“This is a project that has been in the idea stage for 20 or 30 years,” McCurdy said. “We are excited to see this come to fruition.”
Village Anchor Lights was made a priority by the Point Loma Association’s project committee in 2018. After getting permit approval, construction began just after Labor Day this year.
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Cathy Gallagher, owner of Jennings House Cafe, which is in the construction zone at 1018 Rosecrans, said she’s excited that the lights are going up and appreciates the PLA’s effort to beautify the community.
“I know it has been planned for some time and I am confident that it will greatly enhance the Point Loma Village and look forward to its completion and how great it will look,” Gallagher said.
The Village Anchor Lights budget is currently estimated at $530,000. Estimates from last year budgeted the project at $450,000.
A total of $225,000 has come from more than 200 donors. That is coupled with $240,000 in unrestricted association funds and $65,000 from the county and city of San Diego.
“We are thankful for the services from Schmidt Design Group, Elen Consulting, Rick Engineering and BWE for project design and to obtain the approvals and permits from the city of San Diego,” McCurdy said in an email.
American Wiring is the general contractor for the project.
The trenching and underground wiring for the light poles were completed by November. The PLA says the project also includes some 200 engraved pavers featuring the names of donors.
“The noisy part, the demolition, is finished,” said PLA project committee member Branden Boysen. “We’re going to tidy things up the best we can.”
For some businesses in the construction zone, the tidying can’t be done fast enough.
Amy Hesselink, owner of La Playa Books, said she and her business are grateful for the beautification project and the added focus it will bring to Point Loma Village. But she said she found the execution of the project “problematic.”
Construction began in mid-September, affecting street parking and taking up space along the sidewalks in front of local businesses.
“We rely on walk-in shoppers and they were completely turned off by the construction,” Hesselink said. “We banked absolutely on the quiet of the weekend for customers ... and then suddenly one Saturday, without warning, it was cement-pouring day and we were blocked off.”
Gallagher said her business also was “severely impacted” by the construction along the sidewalks.
Since the project started, she said, she had seen an average weekly decline in business of about 45 percent to 50 percent.
“That is very difficult, as I was just beginning to recover from the impact of the pandemic, which I, along with others, barely survived,” Gallagher said. “The combination of noise, no-parking signs, dust and sidewalk impediments drove our customers elsewhere.”
The PLA has not yet confirmed a date to introduce the lights to the community. A post on the association’s Facebook page said the group was planning an “evening block party” to celebrate the project.
“We look forward to the final lighting ceremony and the sparkle that it will bring,” Hesselink said. “But we could have used some magic this holiday season, which we did not have last year” because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gallagher said she is still looking forward to the finished Anchor Lights display and hopes to participate in the celebration.
“My only hope is ... we will see an enthusiasm and increase in business, both from community members and tourists alike,” Gallagher said.
The Point Loma Association is a nonprofit community service and advocacy organization. For more information about it and the Village Anchor Lights project, visitpointloma.org.