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Ole Hanson’s vision was a picturesque Spanish colony by the sea. Avenida Del Mar, or downtown, is really our main street. Traditionally main streets should represent a center for social, cultural and economic activity for the community. They tell us who we are and what we were. We don’t go to outlet malls or bland suburbs to learn about our past, explore our culture or discover our identity. Main streets are places of shared memory where the entire community still comes together to live, work and play.
The real corporate greed lies just north, perched on a hill with million-dollar ocean views—a premium outlet mall with every corporate name you can think of. From what I see, there is an over saturation of “outlet/discount” shopping going on. Really now, how much does a premier surf/beach community really need?
Hopefully Avenida Del Mar will attract small businesses that will take pride in improving their storefronts and offer innovative and unique products, not outlets for the surf industry and faceless corporations. Revitalizing main streets are proven to have a direct impact on the quality of life and provide a positive economic impact for the community.
It takes leadership and vision to build a strong downtown that has a vibrant, sustainable community that all the locals enjoy coming to, can be proud of and has a heartbeat that reflects the original vision of Ole Hanson.