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Help Decide How to Revitalize Carlsbad's Village

A meeting Monday night will discuss ideas to enhance the downtown Village of Carlsbad experience include turning benches around to face the sidewalk, rather than the street, and installing more bicycle racks.

Residents and merchants in the ’s downtown Village are invited to a “Village Revitalization Kickoff” Monday to learn about the next steps in improving the city’s historic center. 

The event will be hosted by the Carlsbad Village Association and Urban Place Consulting Group, which has been hired by the City of Carlsbad to develop a private, non-governmental organization that will continue the Village's revitalization effort.

The , a Village residents and merchants group, is partnering with Urban Place in the effort. The Village Revitalization Kickoff will take place Monday, May 21, between 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., at the , 2822 State St.

A reception will follow from 6:30 p.m. until 7 p.m. Ashley Westman, Urban Place’s project manager, said the group is in its information-gathering stage and is eager to share its ideas and listen to others.  

“We’ve got our idea board up in our office, and we welcome people to come in and throw their thoughts and suggestions up on the board,” Westman said. Urban Place moved into their "workshop" at 530-A Grand Ave. in March. The Carlsbad Village Association will also share the space. Steve Gibson, Urban Place’s president, will give a presentation Monday. Jay Corrales, president of the Carlsbad Village Association, will join him. Westman said the group is already working on ideas to enhance the Village experience, such as turning benches around to face the sidewalk, rather than the street, and installing more bicycle racks. 

“We're planning a pilot bike rack program and we’ll look at getting help from SANDAG for more bike racks,” Westman said. SANDAG, the San Diego Association of Governments, conducts regional transportation planning and funds transportation projects. 

The Village encompasses approximately 200 acres of the City of Carlsbad in the oldest part of the city. It represents Carlsbad’s original and current “downtown” area and is unique for its oceanfront location and historic relevance.  

The city’s vision for the Village is as a family-friendly destination that is both pedestrian and bicycle oriented, where people’s jobs, homes and recreation are within a short walk of each other.   

The current revitalization effort will include the city’s historic barrio area, which was not part of the original Village redevelopment area. Urban Place has helped 34 downtown associations, business improvement districts and cities throughout the United States, and has demonstrated expertise in creating downtowns and commercial districts that are vibrant, healthy, and sustainable. Startup funds for the revitalization effort are provided by the City of Carlsbad. The goal is to create a downtown organization that will be self-sustaining.

–City of Carlsbad

What would you like to see changed in the Village? Tell us in comments.

SMorrow May 21, 2012 at 03:17 PM
I think Carlsbad is a wonderful, quaint place, and it's one of the main reasons I moved to the area last year. However, I do think that the downtown area looks a bit tired and lacks vitality. It needs some sprucing up, if you will. Something as simple as every store/restaurant owner keeping their front area pristine, some fresh paint on the door, a ton of vibrant, well-tended flowers in pots and window boxes. Oh, and this is really simple, but if you're going to put out a water dish for dogs, keep it clean and filled. And some of the window dressings look as if they haven't been changed or dusted since the 80s. Those windows often are what draw people into the stores, and if they're not pretty, interesting or animated on some level, then people are more likely not to venture inside. I also wish that there were more dynamic stores/boutiques that drew people to the village. For instance, if there was a place like Williams-Sonoma (I'm using that as an example because I notice that not only is that a store locals seek, but when there's one in a tourist town, visitors go as well.), it seems as if it might generate more business. I know this isn't Carmel, nor is it Encinitas, but I would like to see Carlsbad more along those lines. Without Carmel's nightmarish traffic, naturally. (But that traffic does equate to more business.)
Kristina Gutierrez May 21, 2012 at 06:17 PM
I'm only a vacationer to Carlsbad, but I feel like its home to me as well. I'm all for sprucing up with some paint, and flowers & updated window treatments, but PLEASE nothing drastic. I love the village just the way it is. It's home.
I love the village May 23, 2012 at 01:48 PM
As a resident of Carlsbad Village, I enjoy the local, personalized, small-town feel and am a dedicated patron to its restaurants and shops, fully encouraging diverse revitalization efforts. It would be fantastic to see the Village dedicate itself to becoming a contemporary culinary destination drawing locals and returning visitors. It’s been great to welcome RELM wine bar, The Compass, Naked Café, Senor Grubby’s, PAON and Boxd, to name a few. Their contemporary approach should encourage friendly competition and inspire some of the established favorites to reinvent themselves. I’d also fully welcome more sophisticated retail to draw more diverse clientele to the area. Spa Sumadra, and Blues and Shoes are great. I was so disappointed to see Grow go by the wayside as it’s a positive model of the type of artful retail we should moving toward. It’s time to refresh many of the established boutiques to strengthen their relevance. I agree with the earlier post that many of the restaurants and stores are operating in a 70s, 80s, 90s model and it's time to reinvent the Village for the 21st century without comprising the good work and historical relevance achieved thus far.
Pat Sullivan May 23, 2012 at 10:49 PM
I wonder how feasible it would be to have one or two blocks turned into a pedestrian only area? In that area, so much more could be done to the outside of businesses, including outdoor seating, etc. (I think of the plazas in Europe that are so welcoming.) I agree with other comments about the need to freshen up the village including flowering containers, etc, something that makes Carmel so warm and inviting.
Cathy Gonzalez May 28, 2012 at 07:43 PM
I agree with Kristina. I am also a vacationer to Carlsbad, I am her mom, and I don't want to see anything done that will take away that "old town feel". We have been visiting Carlsbad since 1991 and everytime we arrive I get that "happy" and "familiar" feeling. I agree that new paint, flowers and just sprucing everything up will brighten up the village and make everyone that visits Carlsbad happy to call it home.
K Chatfield June 03, 2012 at 04:06 PM
The village should have one theme or look. Right now it looks like a hodge podge of different era's and looks. One look we see repeated is the Danish Village type buildings. We should keep with this theme instead of the institutionalized sterile look that the big blue box building that the newly remodeled fish restaurant built.
sechrest August 28, 2012 at 08:15 PM
I don't think your going to going to revitalize the village with flower pots and bike racks. I'm a 3 year resident of the village and I've always been struck about the potential of State St. both north and south of Grand and Carlsbad Village Dr. This is premium property and very little development. The property is not cheap, but a individual or developer needs the proper zoning(condo,s on top, business on street level to step up and invest). Offer this zoning for 3-5 years if they build and you would be surprised. Parking, your going to have to go 2 or 3 levels. Think of the sales tax on the already existing property and from the retail sales.

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