La Mesa looks forward to re-imagining areas damaged most by May riots
LA MESA (KUSI) – Tensions were high this weekend as La Mesa braced for another round of planned protests against racial injustice, but thankfully things remained peaceful.
However, that wasn’t the case during demonstrations on May 30th, but several months later the community is looking forward to the future.
“It was very difficult seeing the riots in the city, but it’s also been really great to see the community come together afterwards to repair, and even create some public art in areas that were damaged,” La Mesa City Council-member Colin Parent said. “We are continuing to have some talks about the substance of what those protests were about, and hopefully making reforms.”
The La Mesa City Council will host a Town Hall Meeting August 13, 2020. Parent says he hopes the forum is used to create a community that everyone can feel safe in.
“It’s one of the many things as a city that we’re going to have to talk about and improve so people feel confident and comfortable with law enforcement,” Parent said. “So that everyone can feel comfortable with the decisions being made by leaders here.”
Months later the rubble around the burned down Chase and Union Bank is blocked by tarp, but the extensive damage can still be seen. Parent says while the banks, at this time, plan to rebuild, they will have to do so without a drive-through.
“It makes it really hard for pedestrians to have a safe experience and for a place like our village, it’s so walkable, it’s so friendly you want to maximize how good it is,” Parent said.
Business and landowners in the La Mesa Village area are in very early talks with City Council about transforming parts of the area into an outdoor focused restaurant community similar to Little Italy.
“It’s really exciting, and I think it’s a reflection of the renaissance that we’re having in La Mesa Village,” Parent said. “There’s a lot of new restaurants coming in, lot of shops.”
It’s a transformation that could take several years and Parent doesn’t want to detract from the community already flourishing in La Mesa.
“Some landowners and business owners have talked about doing some sort of piazza-style community amenity with these three properties that were damaged in the riots,” Parent said. “But the other really important thing to remember that while we have these long-term talks, the village is already very vibrant today.”
Residents we spoke to feel it would be a great idea to draw more people to the city.