The last La Mesa City Council meeting of 2012 also served as the last meeting for longtime councilmember Dave Allan, as he was honored by the city Tuesday for his years of public service.
Allan, who thanked the people of La Mesa, his fellow councilmembers and his wife, Carrie, was given a plaque by Mayor Art Madrid, and was presented with an official La Mesa street sign emblazoned with “172 Dave’s Drive 12 Years.”
“There’s a lot of people I’d like to thank, and I’m just gonna generalize. Some of those people [from the last 12 years] are gone. I’m not gonna say their names. They’re up there looking down,” Allan said.
“But what really makes this city is the people. We’ve got a great city. I really just want to thank the people. To be elected by peers is something special. We have 12-13 commissions now, and it’s really those commissions that make the city run. I want to thank the staff and employees that operate the city on a day-to-day basis. It really is the Jewel of the Hills.”
A video presentation was also shown featuring photos of Allan in his 12 years of public service, including the Skate Park opening in 2002, the dedication of ballfields at Helix in 2006, the opening of the Seau Sports Complex in 2006, and the dedication of the new police department in 2010.
With his departure, it also signaled a time for the installation of the newest councilmember Kristine Alessio. With her family and friends occupying the first row in the chamber, she was sworn in as Allan’s replacement.
Incumbent Ruth Sterling, who won her sixth term as councilmember in November, was also sworn in, along with City Clerk Mary Kennedy, who ran unopposed for the position.
After a brief recess from the council proceedings, council attendees and city staff were able to enjoy refreshments – punch and a celebratory cake.
When the meeting began again, the council heard an update from city staffer Greg Humora on the La Mesa Village “Streetscape” renovation project.
Humora walked the council through the latest information with the project, which is expected to begin construction next year. He said that the city has had 16 individual meetings with business owners and property owners, informing them of a phased plan for construction along La Mesa Boulevard.
The phased construction includes maintaining a five-foot-wide section of sidewalk that will allow access to business throughout the entire duration.
“We have put together a phasing plan that will mitigate the impact to businesses during the construction process,” said Humora. “Another key is tobe able to provide parking and access for cars as well. Traffic will continue to flow in one direction, westbound, on La Mesa Boulevard. There will be parking across the street. It will be parallel parking, and it will still be metered.”
He added that with the phasing aspect of the construction, the maximum length of time that any business can expect to be impacted is eight weeks.
He said that the city has not told businesses exactly when they will be in front of their building—they’ll know more once a contractor is brought onboard—but that they are stressing the phasing plan and the eight-week window.
He said that eight weeks includes everything, “including demolition, saw cutting, installation of new street lights and irrigation, curb and gutter, tree grates, paving and new sidewalk.”
Humora also presented the council estimated costs for what are being called “betterments,” of the project.
“These are amenities that don’t exist today that could potentially be part of the project. In order for those to be part of the project, we also need a maintenance mechanism to take care of them,” said Humora.
The total costs of the betterments comes in at around $38,400 on the initial estimate, and includes things like string lighting, brick crosswalks, benches, bike racks, and removable bollards. The cost of power washing all of these amenities comes out to an additional $12,000 a year, bringing the total cost of the betterments to $50,406.
The estimated construction costs of the project are $5 million.