In 1981 it became apparent to the Cardiff Town Council that a sidewalk was needed along Birmingham for pedestrian safety. The county said it was the property owners’ responsibility to improve their footage so the council tackled the problem.
Under the direction of President Ken Harrison, board member Jackie Barker suggested squares of sidewalk be sold like the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The project would cover a 1.2-mile stretch from Newcastle to Mackinnon, squares would be sold at $15 per foot and purchaser could imprint names, hand prints, artwork and/or business or organizations names.
The Town Council put the word out, the news media picked up on the story and funds started rolling in, some from people who had only visited Cardiff-by-the-Sea but were impressed by the project.
First pouring day truly was a Hollywood event with TV cameras rolling and news photographers watching as Cardiff resident David Scomowski, a blind Vietnam veteran and a Superior Courty judge in San Diego and his guide dog O.J., made the first imprint.
Families gathered to add their comments to purchased squares, sections were purchased by Del Mar Fish Market and employers, a Northern California hotel offered a room for $27 a night if the guest mentioned they saw it on the Piece of the Walk. A returned Marine officer thanked people for his last night in Cardiff-by-the-Sea before shipping out for World War II and at the corner of Birmingham and Montgomery is the Happy Days Logo of local resident Marion Ross. A few years ago the city had to remove this square for wheel chair access but it was preserved by careful city employees and returned.
The idea caught on in surrounding communities and Oceanside sold pieces of the pier to aid in reconstruction and sidewalk plaques were sold in Ocean Beach to refurbish their downtown.
In 1987, with only three blocks to go, Cardiff Seaside Market joined the builders of Cardiff-by-the-Sea Apartments and paid for the completion of the project. President Ken Harrison served the Cardiff Town Council from 1977 to 1984 during the sidewalk project which took five years to complete.
I hope you will take a few minutes this gorgeous summer to wander up Birmingham, enjoy reading the squares and appreciate the efforts of the Cardiff Town Council as well as the contributors.
A Channel 39 News Editorial applauded the project as “Local citizens coming together, taking care of a local problem, on their own.” Long known for total involvement aiding in community situations such as returning the Cardiff-by-the-Sea name to the Rand McNally atlas, salvaging and returning out community name signs to the freeway after incorporation, preserving our post office and building our library, Cardiffites are a proud, concerned group who join together when needed and “getter done” making Cardiff-by-the-Sea this warm, friendly, community that we all love to call home.
Filed Under: A Place To Call Home