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By Lew Avera
On this past Saturday, I attended the fourth annual San Clemente Sports Wall of Fame recognition ceremony at the San Clemente Aquatic Center, sponsored by the Friends of San Clemente Beaches, Parks and Recreation Foundation. The Friends is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to building a stronger community through its support of beaches, parks, recreation, cultural and educational activities. It has numerous activities during the year including an upcoming golf tournament in June, summer music and movies at the beach, a large Halloween gala at the Sports Park in October and an ongoing Cyber Café computer learning center at the city office building on Calle Negocio. As indicated, the Friends raises financial support for city recreational activities. At this event, the Friends presented the city of San Clemente with a check for $62,800 in support of recreational activities.
The three Wall of Fame additions—Bob Yoder, Doris Stephens and Joyce Hoffman—were introduced with their background and each spoke at some length to the 200-plus attendees. Everyone was thrilled to hear their personal stories of athletic success. More on this is included in a separate article in this SC Times.
Of course their success was achieved many years ago and, except for the beach and surfing, long before we had the wonderful sports and recreation facilities we have today. As I spent the evening with so many friends and supporters, and at such a special location, I could not help but think of the progress the city has made over the past 10 years in developing our new and state-of-the-art sports and recreation facilities. These are so important in giving our young people the opportunity to achieve in this aspect of their lives.
What was, and is, particularly decisive is how these facilities were developed and are sustained financially. I was on the Planning Commission throughout the development of Vista Hermosa Sports Park. This entailed the sale of city land to Target and building of the large Target store, a strategy opposed by many. In addition, we have very large commercial shopping centers in many parts of the city, the most recent of which is The Outlets. Finally, just opening, is the renovated Estrella Plaza with large stores such as Sprouts, T.J. Maxx, ULTA, Stein Mart and many other smaller stores.
The combination of all of these commercial activities, while opposed by so many as counter to our small “Village by the Sea” perspective, afford us the wonderful recreational facilities we now have through their sales tax revenue. Without this, these facilities could not be sustained. The fact is, we can have both a small town environment as well as commercial development, sufficiently geographically separated.
Current members of the Sports Wall of Fame are generally from prior generations, who developed their skills with limited facilities. However, as a result of our ongoing efforts and support of such groups as the Friends of San Clemente, we can expect to see future Wall of Fame members developed as a result of our balanced decisions in terms of commercial, family and recreational activities. This is crucial for the development of our many thousands of young people over the years who are so fortunate to call San Clemente home.
Lew Avera is a retired career officer, Lt. Col., U.S. Marine Corps. He has been a director of the Talega HOA since 2003 and served on the San Clemente Planning Commission from 2005 to 2013