DEL MAR — After over two decades of anticipation, residents can expect to see a revitalized downtown corridor as early as July 2019.
The Downtown Streetscape project is a long-awaited plan to revamp the downtown thoroughfare of Camino Del Mar — from 9th street through the north entrance of the Plaza — implementing new sidewalks, lane striping, lighting and various landscaping improvements. The project aims to increase safety and walkability in Del Mar, while also beautifying the stretch with new furnishings, trees and plant life.
At the Oct. 29 City Council meeting, council members voted 5-0 to approve a construction contract with Tri-Group Construction and Development, Inc. Construction will start as early as late November, though the bulk of activity will begin after the new year. Construction will be implemented in one phase — rather than the original multi-phase approach — in order to minimize disruption to the community and avoid future cost increases.
The construction contract is for about $5.1 million, with the total cost coming in at $6,764,000. The project will be funded in large part through Measure Q funds — a 1 percent hike in sales tax approved by voters in 2016 — as well as through the city’s existing Streetscape Project budget.
There is an approximately $1.5 million gap in funding for the project. Options for financing the remaining costs will be brought in front of the City Council come 2019.
Plans to revitalize the downtown corridor go back as far as 1996, when Spurlock Landscape Architects drafted the “Streetscape Plan” — envisioning improvements across the entire span of the city’s central corridor, from Carmel Valley Road to Via de la Valle.
In 2013, the city embarked on a sidewalk connectivity project to increase pedestrian walkability in Del Mar, with a total of nine sections running from Jimmy Durante Boulevard to Via de la Valle. Downtown Streetscape will soon be the seventh completed section, and according to staff, the longest and most comprehensive due to its central location.
After several months of public engagement, City Council approved designs for the Downtown Streetscape Project in February 2018. Phase one was originally to begin in spring 2018, but bids came in “significantly higher” than anticipated, and the project was stalled.
In mid-September, the city put the project out to bid once more, with an estimated total cost of $7.1 million. Five bids came in, with San Diego-based Tri-City Construction and Development’s being the lowest.
City Council members expressed excitement about moving forward with the Downtown Streetscape project. Mayor Dwight Worden said the project will allow the city to do its part in making downtown “more alive and more vibrant.”
“What we can do is fix up the infrastructure, make the streets more attractive, make it a pleasant place to be, and maybe that will stimulate the private owners to do their part,” Worden said.
For a breakdown of the updates to each block, visit: http://www.delmar.ca.us/DocumentCenter/View/3903/Downtown-Streetscape-Project-Overview.
Lexy Brodt covers all things Del Mar and Solana Beach for The Coast News, with a primary interest in coastal development. A North County native turned UW-Madison alumna, she has produced for Wisconsin Public Radio and reported for The San Diego Union-Tribune and Wisconsin State Journal.