VISTA — To continue the transformation of the city’s “blighted” downtown, Vista City Council allocated $5.8 million to beautify part of Paseo Santa Fe with new sidewalks, benches, streetlights, and more.
The goal is to transform the city’s core from “blighted, just old, old buildings” to an attractive area that is more pedestrian friendly and will bring in new businesses, said Mayor Judy Ritter.
The city has been striving to upgrade South Santa Fe Avenue from Vista Village Drive to Civic Center Drive for years. But funding problems, particularly the loss of redevelopment funds, prevented the project from moving forward.
To make the project more financially manageable, the improvements were broken up into three phases. The project has been named Paseo Santa Fe.
This first stage of upgrades consists of narrowing South Santa Fe Avenue from four lanes to two lanes between Main Street and Ocean View Drive. Utility cables will also be moved underground, a roundabout will be constructed at Eucalyptus Avenue, and sidewalks and gutters will be replaced.
Funding for this first part was eventually obtained from a variety of sources.
Construction to replace the sewer, water, and storm drains began in May 2014. This work is near completion and construction on dry utility enhancements is slated to begin next month.
City Council’s allocations of the additional funds, along with the awarding of the construction contract and approval of purchasing agreements, at Tuesday’s meeting will enable the aesthetic improvements to the street to proceed.
The streetscape renovation will begin this March and will also include angled parking, bike lanes, and new signs.
Phase one is expected be completed around the beginning of next year.
Phase two of Paseo Santa Fe will enhance South Santa Fe Avenue from Ocean View Drive to Terrace Drive.
The estimated cost is $7 million and the city has not yet obtained funding, according to John Conley, director of Vista’s Community Development and Engineering Departments.
Alongside the Paseo Santa Fe project, a 69-unit affordable housing and commercial complex, Paseo Pointe, is currently being built at 325 South Santa Fe Avenue. Another affordable housing project, the North Santa Fe Apartment project on North Santa Fe Avenue, is also being constructed and will be completed this year.