City gets creative to pay off Shores debt

DEL MAR — Friends of Del Mar Parks is encouraging Del Mar residents to keep up with the Joneses — as well as all their other neighbors — as part of its Paint the Town Yellow contest to help raise the approximately $3.6 million needed to pay off a loan used to purchase the Shores property.
With about one week to go, the Ocean Pines neighborhood holds a slight lead over North Hills in the friendly competition launched by the nonprofit group soliciting funds to retire the debt. The goal is to enroll an additional 250 Del Mar residents in its fundraising efforts.
The contest began Aug. 1 and runs through Sept. 18. Participants joining the campaign between those dates receive a yellow yard sign identifying them as supporters. Del Mar was divided into nine neighborhoods. The one with the greatest percentage of signs will win a block party at the location of its choice.
According to Joe Sullivan, president of Friends of Del Mar Parks, the contest is being run primarily through e-mail, making it easy to participate. Current supporters are asked to send e-mails to neighbors not displaying a yellow yard sign and request their participation by joining the team and making a contribution.
The contest will conclude with the Del Mar Shores Septemberfest celebration from 1 to 4 p.m. Sept. 20 at the Shores property on Ninth Street and Camino del Mar.
The following chart lists how each neighborhood is doing as of Sept. 4.
— Ocean Pines: 30 percent
— North Hills: 25.6 percent
— Sunset: 23 percent
— Village Center: 21.6 percent
— South Hills: 12 percent
— Stratford/Bluffs: 11.7 percent
— Beach Colony: 9 percent
— Del Mar Heights: 3 percent
— Carmel Valley Road: 3 percent
The city bought the 5.3-acre site from the Del Mar Union School District last year for $5.8 million. Friends of Del Mar Parks raised $5 million in donations for the down payment. To save on interest, the city later obtained a three-year bank loan to pay off the district. A balloon payment of $3,245,588 will be due in November 2011.
Fundraising has slowed considerably since the purchase. The city will hold a workshop Sept. 26 to discuss its options for paying off the loan, including a general obligation bond that would be repaid with a property tax increase.
Visit the city Web site for more information on the workshop. Visit http://www.delmarshores.org for contest information.

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