Morning Meeting of MainStreet Oceanside Notes -Parking, North County Veterans Stand ect

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The first of four planned workshops on downtown Oceanside parking, considering the impact of all the new development, will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday in City Council Chambers, 300 N. Coast Highway.

Julie Dixon, head of Dixon Resources Unlimited, a consulting firm hired to work on a downtown parking proposal, announced the upcoming workshops Tuesday at the monthly Morning Meeting of MainStreet Oceanside.

“I don’t normally see this kind of attendance level at community meetings,” Dixon said, commenting on the audience of about four dozen people.

She said she hoped the interest would carry over to the workshops.

Data collection already has taken place, Dixon said, ­- to gather information on peak summertime traffic – and again in October, “so the ball already is rolling.”

“There really is no cookie-cutter solution,” Dixon said.

With so many new developments, she said, “the parking situation has changed since the last time we did a study.”

“We don’t only want to address current needs, but those of the future,” she said.

“For me,” she said, “parking is a customer service” and often is the first and last impression visitors have of a city.

Technology, just like with cellphones, changes faster than it can be gathered, she said.

“I can’t emphasize enough,” she said, “how important your input is going to be.”

Dixon included “wayfinding” signage with directional information as an important component of parking.

Nathan Mertz, with the city Engineering Department, noted that at the time parking rates were changed last year the parking study was also funded. And he mentioned that a new parking structure (at Civic Center Drive and Cleveland Street) will go on line next year.

“We really want to hear from the business community,” Mertz said.

Future workshops are scheduled Dec. 11 and in January and February. Rick Wright, MainStreet Executive Director, said the December meeting would be held at MainStreet office, 701 Mission Ave.

Dixon promised to share data at the meetings and to share a preliminary draft as well.

She said a survey will be included in the process, but she won’t know the survey questions until after the first meeting.

The meeting also heard a presentation from Cliff Ireland and Matt Foster about the planned Third Annual North County Veterans Stand Down Feb. 7-10 at Green Oaks Ranch in Vista.

Ireland said 1,312 veterans have been counted as homeless this year – a 24-percent increase over the previous year – but the figures should be higher because some homeless are not found on the counting day, Jan. 27.

“We do not know the real number” he said, “only the ones we physically were able to see.”

He figures there are thousands not counted – sleeping in cars, storage units or “couch surfing” – staying with various friends for brief periods. Student vets, he said, sleep in their cars and shower and get food at their college.

Often, he said, it’s thought that many homeless vets served during the conflict in Vietnam but actually 42 percent joined the military between 1976 and 1990 – between Vietnam and the Gulf War.

They’re in their 50s and 60s now – an age when it’s hard to find employment, he said.

Stand Down offers medical and dental services, Foster said, as well as new socks and underwear and a shower and a shave.

And, yes, he answered a question from the audience, there is job and career counseling.

lreland called it a “safe, friendly, drug-free event” for veterans, their families and even their pets.

Foster said 32 vets have gotten off the streets since the last Stand Down, and he asked for volunteers to help with the 2019 event.

Also at the meeting, Bob Botkin, Board President of the Oceanside Boys & Girls Club said it has just completed construction of its new Center for Innovation, which includes a section for culinary arts, where youths learn not only how to cook but also about the hospitality industry which is booming in this city.

The second part of the center is a science and technology lab and the third concentrates on the performing arts. Botkin said the latter is not just singing and dancing but about all the other jobs in the entertainment industry – like all those listed in the credits at the end of a movie.

He invited folks to a ribbon-cutting and tour at the club from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday (Nov. 8).

In a change from the usual format of having staff reports near the end of the meeting, announcements by Gumaro Escarcega, Main Street Program Manager, and Cathy Nykiel, Sunset Market Manager, were listed first on the agenda.

Escarcega talked about the Shop Local campaign, which started three years ago. Visit Oceanside, the Chamber of Commerce and the City’s Economic Development Department are partners.

“The program provides a lot of good will for retailers,” Escarcega explained. American Express runs a Shop Local promotion at the same time. The Oceanside program runs Nov. 24-Dec. 12. Customers buying more than $20 in merchandise from a participating retailer get a stamp on their Shop Local Passport and can win various prizes.

There will be a Merry Makers Fair in conjunction with the promotion, Escarcega said. It will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Nov. 24 and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Nov. 25. Escarcega called it a “free popup market in Artist Alley”. He expects more than 30 “makers” and other businesses.

Also on Nov. 24, there will be a Downtown Sip and Shop, which was characterized as being a bit like the Taste of Oceanside, but offering samples of adult beverages only. Tickets are $15 in advance, or $20 the day of the event. A similar event is being held for the first time in conjunction with a South Oceanside “Walkabout.”

Next, Escarcega talked about the holiday window-decorating contest with a top prize of $150. The winner will be selected Dec. 7, but the windows will be on display Dec. 1-31.

Wright complimented Kathy Hamman on her window decorations at MainStreet each year but said they’re ineligible for a prize.

Nykiel said a glow-in-the-dark menorah will be lighted for the Jewish holiday of Chanukah at 6 p.m. Dec. 5 in the Regal Cinema plaza. She said there will be glow-in-the dark sand art and face painting as well.

The following night, Dec. 6, Nykiel said, the annual holiday tree lighting will take place at 6 p.m., also in the theater’s plaza, and Santa will arrive on a fire engine. Mission Avenue will be closed between Coast Highway and Cleveland Street for additional family activities.

On Nov. 29, the Sunset Market becomes the Holiday Gift Market. Nykiel said there will be more than 150 artisans and merchants, and there will be carriage rides and Santa as well. Nykiel repeated her seasonal motto: “Why go to the mall? The market has it all.”

She also mentioned the boat parade of lights Dec. 8.

Wright said MainStreet is doubling its lighted holiday decorations on downtown light poles this year.

Nykiel reflected on the Haunted Market held during the Halloween season and thanked the volunteers who helped. She said Kristin Forbes, Marketing and Communications Coordinator, did “a big push on social media.”

Wright said 6,000 pieces of candy and 6,000 small toys were distributed and the event “always resonates throughout the community.”

Mary Ann Thiem, MainStreet Board Member, said downtown really has changed into a safer, better, more family-oriented place.

In other business:

–Wright thanked outgoing City Councilman Jerry Kern, who attends most MainStreet meetings. “Jerry has been such a supporter of MainStreet,” Wright said to applause.

–Jane Marshall, president of Oceanside Coastal Neighborhood Association, invited people to its Nov. 13 meeting at 6:30 p.m. in St. Mary, Star of the Sea School, 515 Wisconsin Ave. Assistant City Manager Deanna Lorson and Police Chief Frank McCoy will be guest speakers.

–Linda Piña said that Linda and Carla’s Walking Food Tours has expanded into Vista.

–Kern asked everyone to buy books at the quarterly sale sponsored by the Friends of the Library from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday November 10th at 602 Civic Center Drive. The more books sold, Kern reasoned, the fewer he would have to carry back to the warehouse. (His wife, Blake, is a Friends board member).

–Lori Lawson invited people to a seminar on leadership at 9 a.m. Friday November 9th at the Chamber of Commerce.

–Wright said that Escarcega reminded him to mention the “upgraded treats” at the meeting (although he said he still likes doughnuts). The “wonderful pastries” came from Petite Madeline Bakery, and Wright noted that its owner, Christine Loyola, was in the audience.

–Escarcega said Cerina De Souza, Director of Marketing and Communications at Visit Oceanside, has created a “great blog” for Beer Week. He noted there are a lot of breweries in Oceanside.

The next monthly meeting is scheduled for Dec. 4 at 8:30 a.m.

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