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City Hall donor program approved

DEL MAR — A revised donor program to supplement funding for the new civic center was deemed good to go at the Nov. 21 meeting, giving residents a chance to leave a legacy at the public facility.

The plan will help pay for solar panels, estimated to cost $200,000, and $60,000 of kitchen equipment, both of which are currently unfunded items in the $17.8 million project.

“This is going to be a very attractive building and public space and I hope it will attract donors,” Councilman Don Mosier said.

According to the staff report, “there has been interest expressed by community members to contribute” to the building.

Council members Sherryl Parks and Terry Sinnott met with community fundraising groups to modify a plan initially presented in July that their colleagues said was to pricy.

That proposal included six donation packages totaling almost $1.7 million.

The new program will allow residents to donate $4,000 for the flagpole or $20,000 for a holiday tree. The costlier solar panels could be purchased by a group or multiple donors.

The city is looking into a lease-to-buy option and possible grant money for that element.

There is also an opportunity to pay for an inlaid city seal in the Town Hall or breezeway floor. The cost for that is not yet determined.

A variety of outdoor furniture can also be purchased. That plan will be modeled after the existing bench donation program. Currently, there is a waiting list for parties interested in donating for these items, the staff report states.

City officials plan to submit a grant application to the Del Mar Foundation to contribute to the purchase of the kitchen equipment, dance floor and enhanced sound system.

The donor program is not meant to be a long-term, large-scale fundraising effort. The names of contributors will be included on one donor plaque. Monetary amounts will not be featured.

The intention was “to give credit in a modest way, not a splashy way, so that people get recognition but it’s not plastered on every doorknob,” Sinnott said.

A list of donor opportunities will be added to the city website and included on a flier.

The only resident to comment on the program during the public hearing was Felise Levine.

“I was struck by the use of holiday tree and getting it decorated and putting it on public property,” she said. “I am of the Jewish faith … and a Christmas tree renamed a holiday tree is still a Christmas tree.

“I don’t want to be Scrooge,” she added. “But there are many people of different faiths here. And I would hope that the City Council, when it considers public land and city-owned land, to just keep that in mind. … There may be some way to acknowledge that it’s Hanukkah at the same time.”