Village Matters


Full up

By Ann Christoph
By Ann Christoph

“Oh, to be a newlywed with an empty apartment!” I found myself saying as my niece told me about her upcoming wedding. I am happy for her in more ways than one. Not only is she embarking on a lifetime journey with the love of her life, but she and her future husband get to start fresh, with their choices for their living environment limited only by their imaginations and the old affordability factor.

My choices, on the other hand, are severely limited by the clutter factor. No matter how lovely some piece of furniture or “accessory piece” might be, there is simply no more room. Trips to antique stores, and the thrill of finding that perfect item, these are pleasures of the past. “Deaccessioning” as the Arts Commission would say, or giving items away to worthy homes, cleaning, rearranging, repairing…these are my choices now for my domestic collection.

Laguna Beach is like a 100 year old apartment where its occupants have been collecting, building, ornamenting, and adding features all those years. It is full. Unlike places like Irvine, we have no place to expand outward. Yet attractive temptations to add just one more thing to our china closet of community features keep coming…an aquatics center, a skateboard park, senior housing…

How impressed I was with the senior housing task force and the recreation skatepark subcommittee when they accepted the limitations of Laguna’s situation, and instead of proposing adding one more favorite thing, they developed creative programs to fill the needs, avoiding futile attempts to squeeze in another item.

Lifelong Laguna is a senior living program that creates a “virtual village” that supports aging members of the community while they remain in their homes. Arranging for transportation, meals, assistance with home modifications, and social activities are some of the services that can be provided. It is at-home assisted living, allowing seniors to continue to live in their familiar and loved environments. It fills a need without having to build a new assisted living facility.

After extensive research and site visits the recreation skatepark subcommittee determined that our city doesn’t have an adequate location for construction of a permanent skatepark. Instead they recommend “pop-up” installations of portable skatepark equipment at locations that may be temporarily available and providing shuttle service to nearby skateparks outside the city. How practical! And implementing these relatively simple measures will get kids skate experience before our present 12 year olds are in college.

Yes, it would be fun to imagine glorious new buildings with plaques memorializing all who made them come about. But really do we need more of those? And what would we have to give up to fit them in?

Instead we now need the finishing touches—building sidewalks and trail connections, enlarging that flood channel under Coast Highway, refining our sewer system to eliminate odors and spills, restoring and reusing favorite buildings like the movie theater, beautifying our town with well cared for plantings…so we can continue to refine our enjoyment of our beloved charming and very full city.

The author is a landscape architect and former council member.


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