ESCONDIDO — A massive arch welcoming drivers to central Escondido will soon be in place over a major intersection in the city’s downtown.
The arch, which is green and bears the city’s name, is a gift, paid for by an anonymous donor through the Escondido Community Foundation, according to city of Escondido spokeswoman Teresa Collins.
The donor paid $1 million to the foundation, which was previously called the Escondido Charitable Foundation and is an affiliate of the nonprofit San Diego Foundation, in 2018. The foundation made the decision to use the money for an arch, which was an idea that had been discussed as the city planned its Grand Avenue Enhancement Program.
The 40-foot-by-108-foot structure features the word “Escondido” written across it, along with a dome reminiscent of Escondido City Hall.
“The design of The Giving Arch reflects the architectural lines of Escondido City Hall and the philanthropic spirit of the community and will welcome both residents and visitors to Escondido,” according to the Escondido Community Foundation.
The foundation said the arch is being called “The Giving Arch” in order to recognize “the generosity and community spirit of Escondido.”
One of six plaques on the arch will recognize all Escondido Community Foundation members as of September 2019, while the other five will feature community members “and their donations towards image and beautification of Escondido and emerging needs in our community,” according to the community foundation.
It cost about $150,000 to design the arch and about $850,000 to build. It’s planned to span over Grand Avenue just east of Centre City Parkway and will include lighting that will be illuminated at night.
As of Tuesday, Feb. 25, the arch is sitting in a lane of traffic. Weather permitting, it’s scheduled to be raised into place on Tuesday, March 3, Collins said. A little more than a week later, the city, Escondido Community Foundation, Escondido Chamber of Commerce, Escondido History Center and Downtown Business Association will co-host the dedication and official lighting of the arch.
Grand Avenue will be closed off between Centre City Parkway and Orange Street for the event, which will start at 6 p.m.
“Local high school bands, mariachis, ballet folklorico and other entertainment will delight the crowds before The Giving Arch lighting at dusk,” according to an event announcement. “Local restaurants will also have special offerings in their nearby locations.”
The arch will be lit at dusk.
According to its website, the mission of the Escondido Community Foundation is to meet “emerging needs in Escondido by encouraging and increasing effective and responsible philanthropy to benefit all who live, work and play in this special community.”