A look back for second smallest city

2008 more active and greener

2008 seems like it was here and gone in a blink of an eye. Yet, look around Solana Beach and the evidence tells the story of another accomplished year for the region’s second smallest city.

Progress continued to create a more pedestrian-friendly downtown with the completion of the Cliff Street Bridge in February and the Plaza Street cleanup in May. Momentum to revitalize Highway 101 will continue to build in 2009 as the streetscape plan moves forward.

The city is turning greener by the day, tackling climate change issues through its growing Clean and Green Committee and implementing a green building program and plastic bag recycling. More is on the way in 2009, including a green building week in February.

Community building

New community events and collaboration seemed to come from all corners of town.

Along with old favorites like Movie Night and Fiesta del Sol, the city hosted two new events, a Cinco de Mayo celebration and summer concerts at Fletcher Cove Park, which are bound to become popular traditions.

The Friends of the Solana Beach Library hosted the first-ever community reading program Solana Beach Reads, bringing residents together to discuss the tough issue of immigration through Luis Alberto Urea’s true-life novel “The Devil’s Highway.”

Amidst a worsening financial crisis, city businesspeople banded together to launch the Shop Solana Beach First campaign, educating residents about the multiple benefits of shopping locally.

And, in the city’s darkest hour, the community came together to support the family of well-loved veterinarian Dave Martin, who lost his life to a great white shark on April 25.

Whatever happened to...

Two major stories ended up with anticlimactic headlines last year.

The controversial project formally known as Cedros Crossing died a quiet death.

Lacking parking, funding and considered too large for the train station site, the mix-use project was sent back to the developer for redesign in April.

The deadline to secure critical funding lapsed with no revised plan and the developer formally ended his contract for this project with property owner North County Transit District.

While disappointed a compromise was not reached, the community is optimistic the door is now open for a more compatible development that will enhance retail along North Cedros Avenue.

November was uneventful for the city council, which canceled its election due to the lack of challengers to incumbents Lesa Heebner, Joe Kellejian and Dave Roberts.

The three council members were reappointed to their seats for another four years in December.

Right track

Many attribute this odd occurrence to widespread approval of the city’s leaders, who tirelessly tackle issues around town, such as approving the use of golf carts on city streets east of the freeway and getting federal beach nourishment projects back on track.

It’s not just city leadership, but the volunteers and giving citizens who ensure Solana Beach’s high quality of life and glowing community spirit continue to flourish.

There is no better example of this than a group of foodies who cane together with other businesses and families to throw the first Solana Beach Oktoberfest at the Belly Up and raise more than $58,000 for a new lifeguard rescue craft. Hats off to the Solana Brothers and a happy new year to all.