Future site of clock and Lookout monument
The La Mesa City Council on October 27 voted 3-0 to accept the donation of a two-faced, 220-pound, 12-foot-tall street clock. The timepiece, valued at about $8400, is a gift from the nonprofit La Mesa Beautiful and Jim Simpson, owner of Time and Treasures, a shop located downtown on La Mesa Boulevard.
Councilwoman Kristine Alessio was absent, and councilman Guy McWhirter recused himself from the matter, saying Simpson was a "good friend and a client." Assistant city manager Yvonne Garrett said the clock will be installed on the south side of Lookout Legacy Park. Mayor Mark Arapostathis said, "As a La Mesan, I think it's a nice piece to go there."
The triangular-shaped pocket park is under construction at the intersection of La Mesa Boulevard and Allison Avenue. The boulevard was originally known as Lookout Avenue, and park amenities commemorate the legacy of the city that celebrated its 100th birthday in 2012.
Currently on the triangle is construction equipment for the downtown Village Streetscape project, signs advising that businesses are open during construction, and a sign announcing that this is the future site of the Centennial Legacy Project.
Jim Simpson and La Mesa Beautiful boardmembers Carole Lasky and Chloe and Bob Bradshaw.
La Mesa Beautiful is a nonprofit organization dedicated to beautifying the city. Simpson contributed half of the clock cost as a memorial to his late son Ryan. Simpson and the organization will pay $750 to install and engrave two 5´x7´ donor plaques, and La Mesa Beautiful is contributing $3000 (in $1000 annual increments) to establish a maintenance endowment fund. The clock comes with a three-year warranty, and the agreement approved by the council calls for the city to pay $9500 to install the clock and assume responsibility for it.
In interviews before the council meeting, Simpson and La Mesa Beautiful vice president Bob Bradshaw spoke about the clock. Bradshaw said the idea for a clock came up when a former boardmember lunched with then-mayor Art Madrid. The boardmember left town, "and I carried on," said Bradshaw. "It seemed like a nice way to give to the city."
Simpson said, "Bob approached me about buying a clock and asked where he could get it wholesale. My wife Sherry and I lost a son, and I offered to" pay for half of it as a memorial. Ryan was killed in a 2000 automobile accident in La Mesa, and there's a memorial for him with plantings at Helix High School that Jim tends to each week.
He saw La Mesa Beautiful's plan as the opportunity to provide a permanent memorial. Clock features and costs were described in a September 20 letter from Bradshaw to city manager David Witt. The timepiece is $7200, a remote control is $800, and shipping will cost $400.
The clock is the Glenna model manufactured by the East Bay Clock Company. The piece will be black and gold, with ornate gold trim accents and a fluted column accented with a ram's head base. Gold lettering at the top of the clock will proclaim "La Mesa Est. 1912," according to an October 27 report from Witt's office.
Bradshaw said features include clear Lexan on the clock face to provide UV protection and prevent vandalism. The clock is lighted and powered by 120 volts AC. "With the remote, the city can change the time twice a year or reset it" when there's a power failure.
He said the donors "had a heck of a time" choosing a location. The sites discussed included Spring Street near the trolley stop and outside Por Favor restaurant on La Mesa Boulevard. Bradshaw praised the selected site. "It's highly visible. The first thing people see as they turn onto La Mesa Boulevard [both east and westbound will be] the clock."