Center Marks 50 By Evoking Its Era Of Origin

GROSSMONT CENTER -- The the last 50 years, Grossmont Center has been the economic engine of La Mesa, if not its symbolic "downtown.''

 On Saturday, it was both.

The shopping center turned back the clock, filling its outdoor spaces with the sites and sounds of its decade of origin and locals gathered to celebrate the center's 50th Anniversary in a manner usually reserved for the city's traditional downtown.

There were band stands and vintage cars. Celebrity look-a-likes, including Marilyn Monroe, Phil Donahue and Jimi Hendrix gave an audience dominated by 60-somethings a sense of deja vu -- not that this collection of celebs were ever in the same place at the same time.

Center staff was also decked out in '60s mod and put on a fashion show that demonstrated how far fashion has come since this center first opened.

The future of Grossmont Center is being discussed much these days. The new trolley station elevator will be dedicated soon and the San Diego Association of Governments recently produced a video reimagining of a Grossmont of the future with mixed use residential and retail that could transform this space.

But for Saturday, the clock stopped, and shoppers took a few moments to mark a milestone for an institution that has been very much a driving force in the second 50 years of the city's first century.

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Tags: Grossmont 50th Anniversary, Grossmont Center, La Mesa, La Mesa downtown

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