The dream of the citizens of Encinitas owning the legacy Pacific View property instead of seeing it auctioned off for condos came true at precisely 8:37 p.m. on Thursday evening, December 18, when escrow officially closed.
Mayor Kristin Gaspar signed the escrow documents earlier in the day, ending an improbable turn of events that began last February when over 700 Encinitas residents sent emails via SavePacificView.org asking their city councilmembers and the Encinitas Union School District trustees to postpone the district’s scheduled March 25 auction. At the 11th hour, the city offered to buy the land for $10 million and the district quickly accepted.
“We should all have a great sense of accomplishment now that the city’s purchase of Pacific View school has been completed, said Councilmember Tony Kranz, one of the primary architects of the purchase. “Making this happen honors the memory of the gift given by Mr. Pitcher, who donated most of the land for a public purpose back in the 1880s. The purchase also provides one of our school districts with much needed resources, which will be used for educating our children. Future generations will benefit from this for many decades to come.”
Kranz and Councilmember Lisa Shaffer comprise the Pacific View Activation Plan Subcommittee, tasked with guiding the site to its near-term and long-term potential, probably as an arts and cultural center. Kranz says they will announce their second public meeting within a couple of weeks to continue the process.
A community celebration and cleanup originally envisioned for January will probably be postponed, Kranz told SavePacificView.org. “Before we can have the public on that site, we have to fence off the building because people can’t be walking under the overhang, because of the danger.” The subcommittee has also gotten an estimate for removing the overhang, which is above the sidewalk outside the classrooms on the north wing of the building.
Concerning the potential celebration, there’s also the complication of Leucadia Towing continuing to use the property for the next six months, an agreement that was made at the December 17 City Council meeting.
But the site is getting closer to the day members of the public are invited to experience their new acquisition. “We were there the other day and it’s looking pretty good,” Kranz reported. “[The school district] cleaned up a lot of stuff.”
Former Encinitas Mayor Teresa Barth, who left the council last month amidst accolades from many Encinitas residents (and even some from Carlsbad), has pledged to continue to champion the transformation of Pacific View into a downtown jewel. She called the official closing of the purchase “an exciting step in creating an vibrant arts and community gathering place. I look forward to being an active part of the process.”
The Pacific View property at 608 Third Street in downtown Old Encinitas has been the site of a school since 1883. The elementary school was closed in 2003, but the original one-room schoolhouse survives and will remain on the site.
SavePacificView.org will stay on top of developments and send email updates when new Pacific View events occur. You’re also invited to stay up-to-date on Pacific View news by joining the SavePacificView.org email list here. Your name and email address will only be used by SavePacificView.org. The SavePacificView story as told by local media can be read here.
What are your Pacific View ideas? Click here to Share Your View!
The discussion about what we’d all like to see happen at the Pacific View site has begun in earnest.
You and your friends are invited to have your say and Share Your View on the SavePacificView.org website. You can login there directly or use your Facebook, Twitter or Google+ ID to post and comment. Your input is much appreciated, and essential to helping create a place that can be enjoyed for generations to come.