Photos by Charles Bailey
  • Photos by Charles Bailey
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Though Bonita's welcome mat has been pulled, the South Bay community is hardly discouraging people from coming by.

The “Welcome to Bonita” sign, designed to convey a warm hello to those entering the community's portal, was destroyed November 26 by a eucalyptus tree that toppled over across Bonita Road just east of I-805.

The toppled tree's base

The toppled tree's base

The tree's notoriously shallow root system had been saturated with rain. Wind gusts of up to 21 miles an hour sped the demise along. As the sign cracked to pieces, the logos of some 16 local organizations smashed to bits on the pavement. The spots that lit up the sign at night shattered, too. Destroyed medallions included those of the Optimists. Rotary, Lions, and Kiwanis clubs; the Bonita Business and Professional Association; the Road Runners bicycling group; and the Music Machine, a music and dance troupe out of Bonita Vista High School.

It may take as long as five months to replace the sign, assuming $3500 can somehow be raised.

“We need $2000 to get started,” said Randy Bellamy in an interview last week. Bellamy, a Kiwanis Club member, is leading the effort. He expects the groups to pay the costs of replacing their own logos, (low-ball) estimated at $100 each, due to expected discounts for the work of a Bonita Kiwanian, who produces decals that are mounted on discs and sealed in place with a clear plastic overlay.

Kiwanis led the drive to mount the sign in the late '90s. Five years ago, the sign collapsed for the first time. Then, the two wooden posts on which it was mounted had rotted in wet soil and heavy winds came along to finish things off. The wood was replaced with steel beams, the lone surviving remnants of the recently demolished welcome sign.

“Bonita Kiwanis rebuilt the sign then and we will do it again!” said Bellamy.

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