In its recent annual 2013 retreat, the entire City Council voted to make a village entrance concept its number one priority in 2013.
As many know, I have been working for years to try to carry out the village entrance vision that was created by the Village Entrance Task Force over 18 years ago. As a reminder of what that vision was, I include it in this letter:
“Laguna Beach’s village entrance is a beautiful, pedestrian oriented area that links the art festival activity areas to the downtown village and Main Beach. At the entrance to the city’s downtown there is a welcoming ‘statement’ to the village central business area and the activities of the art festivals. The surface parking and flood control channel have been replaced or covered with a public area that has a pedestrian walkway that meanders through an undulating park-like landscape of indigenous trees and flowers and includes interesting art ‘placement’ sculptures and creative water features. There are both formal and informal seating accommodations along the pathway. At night, a subdued and visually pleasing light-scape program enhances this public area and pathway. The area invites one to take a relaxing stroll to and from the art festivals, plays, concerts, community events and the downtown’s stores and restaurants, thus enhancing and extending pedestrian activity in the downtown area. Along the way, visitor information kiosks provide information about these activities and other community special events held on or near the Civic Arts District. The surface parking has been replaced with a consolidated parking structure that has been visually integrated into an area next to City Hall. The parking structure is well landscaped and designed so that it does not have an obtrusive feel to the pedestrian components of the Village Entrance area or the downtown. The village entrance is yet another jewel for Laguna Beach residents and visitors to be proud of and enjoy!”
I look forward to honoring all those who worked so hard towards this vision—not only 18 years ago, but decades before that — to finally bring to fruition what will be a beautiful entryway to our city. A vision that will help to increase vitality in our downtown/civic arts district — and that addresses many of our parking, traffic and circulation issues, the number one concern in a recent city study of our residents.
Elizabeth Pearson, Mayor Pro Tem