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Making Main Street
Richard Earnest | DMVA President


Photo Sandpiper Archives.  Courtesy Del Mar Historical Society.  Click on image to enlarge.


Del Mar has joined a growing national movement, California Main Street Alliance, that works with communities to improve the economic, social, cultural and environmental well-being of traditional commercial districts. For decades, downtowns have served as the social, cultural and financial lifeblood of communities across America. However, in recent years Main Street’s shops and restaurants, once filled with familiar faces, have been competing with big box stores and increasing development in sprawling bedroom communities. Here in Del Mar, we’re not ready to let downtown become a memory.

This year the Del Mar Village Association (DMVA) submitted an application to the Alliance that was nearly 3 inches thick and filled with documentation, data and narratives covering the over 12 years of revitalization programming sponsored by DMVA including annual events, downtown improvements, business support and historic preservation and education. A certified local Main Street program must meet stringent criteria and pass an on-site assessment conducted by the state program.

In November DMVA was certified as a Main Street Association by the California Main Street Alliance.

DMVA sponsored annual events include:

• The Taste of Del Mar & Art Stroll
• Summer Beach Festival
• Holiday Wonderland & Holiday Tree Lighting
• Santa by the Sea
• Summer Solstice
• Vintner Dinners
• Sunset Soiree
• Pink Lady Event
• Last Day at the Track
• Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Cheering station
• Along with support of bike and running races and local events

DMVA improvements in the downtown include

• The Del Mar Village entrance signs
• Public Art
• Event and Holiday Banners and lights
• Pedestrian and lifeguard directory and map signs
• Recycling and trash receptacles
• Benches
• Bike racks
• Traffic and parking improvements
• Utility box beautification
• QR Code Historic building plaques

DMVA has assisted in promoting the village and supporting the business community and historic preservation with continuing projects:

• Downtown directory, maps and brochures
• E-blasts to the businesses and community
• Regional and national PR of Del Mar as a destination
• Interactive website
• Free Parking and Holiday Voucher program
• Conducting business seminars
• Coordinating and implementing the summer Valet program
• Working with economist professionals to evaluate ways to stimulate new businesses and help existing businesses
• Linking vacant properties with potential new business tenants
• Acting as a liaison between the business community and the City of Del Mar
• Developing a historic holiday ornament collection
• Conducting an annual historic downtown walking tour with the local elementary schools
• Creating a historic walking map and historic building plaque program

Becoming a certified Main Street organization will continue to provide DMVA with a proven framework to help preserve the historic character of downtown Del Mar while attracting business, capital investors, and consumers. The expanded networking with the other California Main Street communities (Coronado, Encinitas, Leucadia, North Park to name just a few) will allow DMVA to tap into additional collective wisdom and ideas. Certification will also provide enhanced professional training and technical assistance and access to additional grant funding for downtown improvement projects. Now that DMVA is certified, it intends also to pursue National accreditation with the National Trust for Historic Preservation and become a true National Main Street leader to help play a larger role in legislation impacting downtowns in California. This is a true honor to be recognized by the California Main Street Alliance and join the ranks of other certified California Main Street organizations.



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