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Program to clean up city is ‘spot’ on

DEL MAR — See spot. See spot need unbudgeted maintenance. See Del Mar volunteers clean up spot under the Adopt-a-Spot program that was, to use an appropriate verb, adopted by City Council members Oct. 6.
Developed with help from the Parks and Recreation Committee, the program was created to improve and enhance small, city-owned areas such as pathways, transit stops, a portion of a park, undeveloped alleyways, and trails through developed or undeveloped open spaces.
“We’re not really looking for volunteers to clean medians … in the Camino del Mar right of way,” David Scherer, public works director, said.
The goal is to encourage a collective neighborhood effort to initiate, plan and develop a long-term program to beautify a public area. One ongoing example is the space in front of the post office that’s maintained by the Garden Club.
Applications, which do not require a fee, will be processed by the Public Works Department. Staff will help notify property owners adjacent to the adopted spot of the proposed maintenance and encourage their support and participation. The city will provide green waste bins, safety vests and traffic cones.
The Fire and Planning departments will offer input on invasive and native plants and recommend vegetation modifications to improve fire safety. Information on doggie bags and dispensers is available from the Community Services Department. The Del Mar Village Association will help with downtown projects, and Keep Del Mar Clean is available for areas where litter is a major concern.
Adoptees will provide labor, planning and ongoing coordination of regular activities, such as planting flowers. Participation in the Adopt-a-Spot program is not mandatory. Volunteers currently maintaining spots can continue to do so without filing an application.
“I wouldn’t want to discourage those efforts or make them suddenly have to apply for something they’ve been doing for years,” Councilman Carl Hilliard said.
“The idea of an application process was not meant to cause a problem,” Scherer said. “It’s a way for us to assist them doing what they want to do. It was not meant to be an onerous process.”
The program will help the city better monitor ongoing projects. Since signage will not be used to identify the groups adopting the spots, Scherer sought ideas for volunteer recognition.
Councilman Richard Earnest suggested honoring them at the annual volunteer reception or touring the improved spots and awarding prizes. “I’m not volunteering to judge, by the way,” he said.
Other suggestions included an annual presentation during a council meeting, with before and after photos, and making a video that would be broadcast on Del Mar TV.
For more information, call (858) 755-3294 or e-mail