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Shorians Speak Up  
February 2009 | by Piper Underwood, Rimini

You may have noticed the smattering of yellow and black lawn signs in your neighborhood. The signs are meant to increase awareness regarding fundraising efforts aimed at preserving the Shores Property as educational and recreational space.

As of December 31st, 2008, the fundraisers have raised $5,373,000 of the $8.5 million owed. Since the close of escrow in May, The Friends of Del Mar Parks have raised an additional $243,011, the majority of which came in after they announced the $41/36 campaign in October.

People who have pledged to the $41/36 campaign, that’s $41 dollars for 36 months, received a yard sign and a baseball cap. “In some neighborhoods, it’s the “in” thing to have a sign,” says Campaign Coordinator, Barbara Mandel Pache. “I have had several calls from people saying they saw the signs, and want to contribute.”
The City of Del Mar paid off the remaining balance to the Del Mar Unified School District in November with a $3.8 million loan from Union Bank. Campaign fundraising efforts go directly toward paying off the 3.8 million loan with Union Bank. The loan has quarterly payments with the first payment due in February of approximately $76,000. The fundraisers estimate they will have to raise approximately $30,000 per month on average to make the quarterly payments.
If the campaign does not raise the entire 8.5 million plus interest, the City has said it will look at their “Plan Bs” which includes putting City Hall on the property, selling the water-district owned property on Balboa Avenue, or potentially selling the property where the DMUSD offices currently are located. The last option seems unlikely given the City’s agreement with The School District whereupon it was agreed that if the City sells any portion of the Shores Property, 75% of the appreciated value in the property goes to DMUSD.

The Friends of Del Mar Parks fundraisers attest that all giving will stop, if the City decides to put City Hall on the property. A recent survey conducted by the fundraisers attempted to bring to light how the citizens would like the property to be used. Of the 2,200 citizens to whom the email was sent, 175 completed it, of which 69.8 percent said they did not want City Hall placed on the Shores site.
As for now, a proposal brought forth by the Finance Committee at Jan. 12th’s City Council meeting, for the relocation of the City Hall to the Shores Property, has been shelved.

In the words of Joe Sullivan, President of Friends of Del Mar Parks, “It appears the City wants to see The Shores preserved, protected and enhanced as educational, recreational, and community open space.” That is, if the money can be raised. In the meantime, it seems we will have to “pay-to-play.”



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