“It’s a Beautiful Day in this Neighborhood, a Beautiful Day for a Neighbor”

| September 12, 2014 | 0 Comments

by Trish Watlington, president, Mission Hills BID

But… would you know that The Washington Street Maintenance Assessment District (WSMAD), established in 1998, was a big part of the beauty in Mission Hills?

The purpose of the WSMAD is to install and maintain the landscaped medians, trees, and other aesthetic improvements on Washington Street that replaced an asphalt-paved, treeless public sidewalk and median. The district boundaries are from Hawk Street to Albatross Street along Washington Street, and from Ft. Stockton to University Avenue along Goldfinch Street. The WSMAD is funded by a mere $22 assessment on some property tax bills.

The City of San Diego issues and oversees the contracts to maintain the landscaping in the medians, including the Canary Island Date Palms on Washington Street, as well as litter removal on the streets. But the real work of planning and decision making, getting community input and making sure the city really does its job, is done by the WSMAD committee, established in 2008 by the Mission Hills Town Council. The committee includes representatives from several recognized community groups, including the Mission Hills Business Improvement District, Garden Club, and Heritage. Current members Stephen Shushan (WSMAD chair), Lara Gates, Kathy Jones, John Lomac, Jim Reily, Don Rudesill, Susan McNeil Schreyer and Stuart White, generously give their time to keep Mission Hills beautiful.

During the initial meetings with City staff, the WSMAD committee recognized that there was a large surplus of funds that was available for projects to beautify the public right-of-way spaces within the business district. Right away they negotiated with Metropolitan Transit District to get rid of all the ugly plastic bus benches and trash cans and replace and expand them with benches and trash containers that are both more attractive and more suitable for the neighborhood’s historic identity.

The WSMAD committee has also collaborated with the Mission Hills Garden Club on several projects, including a cost sharing arrangement to establish and maintain the street pole hanging baskets within the boundaries of the WSMAD district. Just recently, those were switched to a succulent-based basket in order to conserve water and reduce costs. With the contribution and support of the Mission Hills Garden Club, aesthetic planter boxes were also installed at the corners of Washington Street and Goldfinch Street as well as along Goldfinch Street.

And just as important, but less glamorous, the WSMAD committee budgets for and oversees the regular power washing of the sidewalks within the business core district. Maintaining clean sidewalks in our commercial district is extremely important for the health and beauty of the business district and the entire Mission Hills community.

So, as you walk within the thriving business core district or you drive up Washington Street and see the magnificent Canary Island palms in the median, please notice and appreciate what the WSMAD has accomplished in such a short period of time. For the residents and business owners who contribute through their modest annual assessment, to see is to appreciate what a relatively small contribution of money, multiplied by the generous time of volunteer committee members, can make to the entire Mission Hills community.

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Category: Business, Local News

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