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Vista arches
The gateway arch at Vista Village Drive and Santa Fe Avenue will be renamed with Vista being the prominent name and Pase Santa Fe underneath after the City Council approved the change during its Aug. 25 meeting. Photo by Steve Puterski
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Vista to rename gateway arch sign

VISTA — More than 20 years ago, the Vista City Council focused up on revitalizing and cleaning up Paseo Santa Fe, more commonly known as downtown.

Riddled with crime and prostitution, the city was aggressive in its pursuit to change the image and began a long process of doing so. Four years ago, with much of those goals met, the city unveiled its gateway arch, but the reaction was mixed.

The sign read “Paseo Santa Fe,” leaving some residents and those residing outside the city a bit confused. But on Aug. 25, the council approved a name change to the sign and its companion along Santa Fe Avenue between Vista Village and Civic Center drives.

Both signs will read “Vista” with “Paseo Santa Fe” tucked below. The decision came after a spirited discussion among councilmembers.

Paseo Santa Fe
Construction is ongoing for Phase III of the Paseo Santa Fe Streetscape project, which will include a bookend gateway arch. Photo by Steve Puterski

“We’re going to be building another sign, have another unveiling … and 3,000 people signed a petition to change the wording because Vista wasn’t on there,” said Councilman Joe Green, who brought the issue to the council. “All I wanted to do was put it out there one last time.”

Green conducted his own unofficial survey through Facebook and the response was overwhelming, 81% of his Vista followers wanted “Vista” as the header.

The cost to change the old sign is estimated at $35,500, while the new arch is nearly built and will be installed in the coming months as the city completes Phase III of the Paseo Santa Fe Streetscape project.

The project is reducing lanes, adding roundabouts, seating and landscaping, extending sidewalks and including diagonal parking to increase pedestrian traffic along the corridor. One goal is to extend the retail and restaurant offerings along Santa Fe Avenue.

At first, Mayor Judy Ritter was on the fence, noting how Paseo Santa Fe was core to the project. She noted how businesses in the late ’90s rarely included their location during discussions due to the reputation of the area and wanted to change the perception.

After Ritter finished, Councilwoman Corinna Contreras said the name change is because of the work Ritter and previous councils, city staff and others have done to change the reputation of downtown.

“The only reason we’re bringing this forward is because of your leadership and people are proud to live in Vista,” Contreras said. “We’re having this conversation about changing it to Vista because of the work from you and other councils did to make Vista just a better place.”

Councilman John Franklin admitted when he saw the unveiling four years ago, he was confused as to why it didn’t read Vista. Franklin said he understands both sides of the debate but ultimately voted for the name change.

The new sign will also include a hummingbird, the official bird of the city.


Cindy August 30, 2020 at 4:03 am

The lights along Main Street and Santa Fe are nice but too cold. With the glass painted a warmer color, the lights would not seem so glaring. I do appreciate that they are probably LED lights which save money and last a long time.

Dustin Mann August 28, 2020 at 10:00 pm

Juddy Ritter has destroyed Vista with all of the short sided housing development shoved into the north end, its a very sad situation.

Bee August 28, 2020 at 5:45 pm

This is long over due! Thank goodness! Next can we please stop these building these apartments that no one will be able to afford?? Those Rylan apartments are ridiculously priced (as well as all the other apartments and home developments popping up around town) and honestly that location is not suited for luxury apartments. This sort of gentrification is not needed in this city. Please reallocate funds for more useful projects that benefit our community. Stop bringing in big bank money to push out the locals. We need so many roads fixed, better parks for our children, our schools need upgrading, we need progressive minds, not people just looking to fill their pockets.

Tim August 28, 2020 at 2:18 pm

Finally!! Just having “Paseo Santa Fe” made no sense, and was a bad decision. Many people will be relieved when the change to “Vista” is made.

Elephant Boy August 28, 2020 at 1:36 pm

New sign to read “Hellmouth”

ecy munitz August 28, 2020 at 11:30 am

More of the destruction of Santa Fe roadway. It has been increasingly hard to drive to/through, park, and shop in the so-called downtown over the past decade. I do not want to go anywhere near there any more. War on Cars has succeeded in self-destruction. Now am going to Encinitas for everything. Esto es al fin.

Brian September 1, 2020 at 1:25 pm

so you’re driving nearly 20 miles instead of just parking on a side street? lol

a August 28, 2020 at 11:16 am

Super important! Glad this is what government is focused on. How about clean up the trash homes in Vista so it doesn’t look like a slum?

Veronica defalco August 28, 2020 at 12:42 am

That is an excellent idea I have lived here for 20 years. It should say Vista mainly and then the location area. Excellent idea you should be advertising when the unveiling will be so we can attend. Thank you so much

Gus August 27, 2020 at 11:36 pm

I’m not a Vista native but I live here and I did not like the Paseo Santa Fe sign one bit. That sign gives no sense of pride to the natives. Also, to visitors, they just wonder what it stands for. Also, the bird over what looks to be a pile of sh!@ does not look good for the city. From the beginning, the city counsel should have brought this up at one of their meetings to get the publics opinion. They would have saved all of the money that has now been wasted on the sign that is there now and the money to have the sign replaced. Yet, I give props to the city counsel for finally making the right decision concerning the sign.

Carey August 28, 2020 at 4:07 pm

Alrite❗I’m sooo happy ’bout this change.?

R. King August 28, 2020 at 10:04 pm

Fyi the bird on the top is a hummingbird, since Anna’s hummingbird is the official bird of the City of Vista, but I agree the flower it is hovering around is odd looking. I agree that the most prominent word should be Vista.

jim wright August 27, 2020 at 8:16 pm

about time..who was kidding who as to Vista…. has alway been
a great town.. not an art district or any other hairbrained idea as to its direction.. seem to have lost some of our rural roots.. ..???
tax based metropolis we’re heading… justa sayin

Doug Heflin August 27, 2020 at 7:47 pm


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