By Mayor Pro Tem Chris Hamm
As we approach our 90th birthday, a lot has changed in San Clemente, but we still manage to hang on to that thing that makes us special. It’s the small-town feel with residents who value community and take pride in our history. It’s the annual parades on Avenida Del Mar that recognize our one town, one team spirit. It’s the summer concerts on the sand with surfers in the background. It’s those things and others that uniquely make us the Spanish Village by the Sea.
Our founder, Ole Hanson, came to this area in 1928 with a dream of building a community that complemented the beauty of the natural, rolling contours of the land and promoted a way of living that was about enjoying the beach and the splendor of the surrounding land. As years went on, our 5-mile-long and 1-mile-wide town became built out with Spanish-style architecture, a municipal pier, swimming pools, dozens of parks, miles of trails and tens of thousands of residents.
Regardless of San Clemente’s growth and expansion over that past 90 years, our downtown area has been steadfast in remaining the heart of our community. Downtown San Clemente has become a hub for residents and visitors who come to the area to celebrate, shop and socialize.
In focusing on the downtown area, I would like to extend a special thank you to Michael Kaupp who recently stepped down from his 23-year term on the board of the Downtown Business Association (DBA), of which he was president for 17 years. It was under Mr. Kaupp’s tenure that the downtown area grew to be the bustling hotspot of businesses and entertainment that have come to help support the cherished culture of San Clemente. Some of the highlights in his service to the DBA include the improvement and beautification of the bulbouts along Avenida Del Mar, which incorporated tile murals and benches for visitors to utilize while visiting the area. He was also instrumental in the addition of the hanging flower baskets that you can see on light poles along the street. His service to the DBA has provided the city and our residents with a better downtown area.
As a community, we must continue to support the downtown businesses and the events hosted in the area if we want to see them thrive in the “Amazon era.” With more new shops and restaurants opening up in the coming year, Avenida Del Mar and its surrounding area will continue to be a unique nucleus of quaint boutiques and exciting culinary adventures.
To celebrate our history and the outstanding progress of the past 90 years, the city is throwing a birthday party on Saturday, Feb. 24 and the entire community is invited. The day of celebration will afford residents with opportunities to visit a few of our most iconic and historical spots in town, including Casa Romantica, the municipal Pier, Ole Hanson Beach Club, St. Clement’s by-the-Sea and Las Palmas Elementary School. Activities will include a youth fishing derby, a free swim at the Beach Club, historical trolley tours and more. Stay tuned for more details on this exciting day.
Let us continue on in Ole’s dream of red-tile roofs and sprawling vistas for all to enjoy. Happy birthday, San Clemente!
Chris Hamm is the Mayor Pro Tem of San Clemente. He was elected to City Council in 2012 and re-elected in 2016.