A dream of installing an arch panel in the downtown La Mesa neighborhood is one step closer to fulfillment. In December 2021, the La Mesa City Council approved the sign proposal with plans to complete construction next year.
Although it is one of many signs in San Diego County, the jewel in the hills will create an installation that has never been done before. The La Mesa Village Association Secretary and Treasurer Pam Rader shares signs that completion will depend on community involvement.
“There will be 1,512 hand-painted tiles on the columns and that’s how they can get involved,” Rader said. “They can’t be pre-stamped, they can’t be made, everything will be hand painted.”
You don’t have to be a resident of La Mesa to purchase any of the over 1,000 tiles on sale, but all proceeds will fund the creation of the arch as well as a number of plaques that will be included at the top of the 16 -foot pillars. The sign will be backlit with LED lights to save electricity and will match the infrastructure of the downtown district. You can reserve your tile or plate by clicking here.
Rader explained that the funding was made possible through a very special partnership with the La Mesa Parks and Recreation Foundation.
“We can’t take donations, so we had to find a sponsor. So we partnered with the La Mesa Parks and Rec Foundation, which is a 501c3, and they can take donations,” Rader said. “This mission is so intertwined with what they do, so it was an ideal partnership.”
Misty Thompson says the foundation jumped at the chance to help make the dream a reality.
“We just thought it was a great opportunity not only for the foundation because it’s a perfect fit, but also for the community,” Thompson said. “It’s just something the community has wanted, the city has wanted for so long.”
The sign will be located at the intersection of Palm Avenue and La Mesa Blvd. A decision made because of the historical significance, ease and accessibility of necessary amenities so as not to disrupt surrounding businesses or buildings.
“One of the reasons we chose Palm Avenue is because it’s the historic entrance and exit to La Mesa in the late 1800s and early 1900s,” Rader said.
The arch will serve as a gateway to the past, while celebrating the future.
“People are so excited to leave their mark on the community and in 10, 15, 20, 100 years they can come back – well maybe not 100, but they can come back and say I was part of this. This is me,” Rader said.
At this time no money is charged for the signs, but you can promise a contribution to make history by visiting the foundation’s website.