THE PUBLIC IS INVITED TO A SPECIAL EVENT
The City of Lake Elsinore’s long awaited downtown parking lot is complete. Civic leaders are inviting the public to the grand opening of the parking lot, which will incorporate the dedication of Gediman Square. The ribbon cutting and dedication event is scheduled for Thursday, September 20 at 4 PM.
HONORING THE PAST
City officials for the City of Lake Elsinore intend to honor a late community champion. Arthur M. Gediman was the Deputy City Attorney for the City of Lake Elsinore and a justice of the peace. He came to Lake Elsinore in 1947. Gediman was a Rotarian, an American Red Cross member, an American Cancer Society member, and member of the local Masonic Lodge.
Ruth Atkins, member of Lake Elsinore’s Historical Society, relayed the history of Gediman at a recent City Council meeting. Atkins detailed account revealed that Gediman performed many civil union ceremonies for no fee – asking that any fee go toward charitable causes. Gediman retired in his nineties.
The paved parking lot promises to resolve a long time concern of Lake Elsinore’s Downtown Merchants and bring more visitors to local shops located along the city’s Historic Main Street. Patrons of local business have historically used the project location as an unimproved dirt parking area, which was part of the impetus of the effort. City officials budgeted $775,000 for the project. Work crews completed construction in just over two months. LED lights will light up the area at night. Shoppers will enjoy the additional 171 new parking spaces.
Civic leaders intend to install two new light sculptures at opposing corners nearest to Main Street. Residents will find a large evergreen tree planted at the center of Gediman Square, which sits at the project’s midpoint along the Main Street frontage. The City intends to decorate the tree during the holidays, which will create a new focal point for future Winterfest events.
A DOWNTOWN RENAISSANCE
Civic leaders are touting the Historic Downtown Parking Lot as the latest in a series of public investments intended to revitalize the downtown. The City resurfaced Main Street and added decorative crosswalks in 2014. City officials coordinated with other community partners to create “Clean Extreme” events targeting the downtown corridor, in 2015 and 2017. Roughly 700 volunteers cleaned up trash, painted buildings, and created murals.
The efforts appear to be bearing fruit, because a number of new businesses and restaurants have opened in recent years. The 7-Eleven, located near a freeway entrance on Main Street, demolished and replaced a vacant, decaying former gas station. El Unico, La Unica, and Guadalajara’s have been staple restaurants for many years Main Street. Those restaurants have been joined by Bella Rusticana, Main Street Kitchen & Tap, Stadium Pizza & Brewery, Don Mere’s, and Felix’s. The owners of Main Street Gas have gained City approval to construct a modern gas station facility. A developer has proposed a hotel, conference center, shops, and restaurants on the lake’s shore.
Promoters of the Artist Detour opened earlier this year on the west end of Main Street, near Lakeshore Drive. The City licensed the land to an artist group to create a new artistic point of interest. The Artist Detour is the creation of Studio 395. City officials and the artist collaborative are hopeful that the effort evolves into a venue similar to the Sawdust Festival in Orange County.