Lights Going Out On Boulevard Trees

LA MESA -- The Christmas lights in the La Mesa Village area had a good run, but the holidays do eventually end. Volunteers Saturday morning began taking down the lights.

"They are starting to fail,'' said John Vigil, the La Mesa banker who serves on the La Mesa Village Merchants Association Board and is the godfather of Christmas in the Village and the holiday lights. (see photo right).

The lights come down as the leaves begin rising on the many trees that have framed La Mesa Village along La Mesa Boulevard for decades now. These trees have always been an odd sort of linear copse for a city street -- planted too close to some buildings, causing root damage to the sidewalks and structures, and too far from the sidewalks in other locations spurring regular and damaging confrontations with auto bumpers and fenders.

Still, trees are eventually elegant and the best of them have a way of becoming like pets, a subtle part of the family -- or the local business.

The massive ficus outside Cosmos Coffee shop (above)  has, for some, become a La Mesa landmark. Modest tables clustered beneath, the good weather has inspired  many who would like to see the tree spared the upcoming La Mesa Village streetscape redesign.

Ari Bejar, Cosmos' peripetetic owner, said he has had conversations with city staff and believes he's convinced them to either spare the tree or, if a replacement is necessary, provided something more than a new sapling.

"It should be either that tree or a mature one with a full canopy,'' Bejar said. "I believe I have their agreement on that.''

But for the vast majority of trees now along the avenue, the redesign will require replacement, with a species of tree that doesn't have the aggressive root challenges the current trees bring. The plan does envision a tree-lined street. (see sketch below).

The La Mesa Boulevard redesign project is still in the planning stages but work could start early next year.



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Tags: Cosmos Cafe, Government, La Mesa Today, La Mesa Village, La Mesa Village Merchants Association


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Comment by Sharon Muczynski on March 25, 2013 at 11:10am

The charming La Mesa that I fell in love with is being replaced by a homogenized version unrecognizable from any other community in San Diego. It is a shame because they call it "improvement." First, they replaced the beautiful mid-century architecture of the police station with a generic and boring econobox to match the pseudo-Spanish econobox City Hall. Now they are removing the lights and then the trees along the downtown streets in the name of "improvement."

It is not. We are losing quaint and charming La Mesa to developers.

Comment by David Stanley on March 23, 2013 at 4:46pm

I tour the downtown village area almost daily. Have for many years.  Something about the specialness of our village that keeps drawing back.  I have strolled the street of cities throughout the country. I can walk the narrow streets and lanes of New Orleans, the streets and alleys of Boston, Old Savannah, San Antonio, Monterey and on and on and I get the same feeling inside. More so here however because this is my home. When the trees are festooned with the wee lights that special feeling is more keenly felt. I understand that the "season" is over and we must move on but I also think it should be law that the lights be up throughout holidays as well the rest of the year. Silly perhaps but they add that special magic we have in our village. I will continue my daily tours but will miss the wee lights. Boy! Am I glad I live where I do. 

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