Despite thousands of petition signatures and outcry from the North Park community, a beloved dinosaur mural on the corner of University Avenue and Ray Street has been painted over.
Crews could be seen Monday spraying over the towering “Weenasaurus Rex” mural that was painted on an outer wall of what will soon be a “small-format” Target store.
An online petition was created earlier this year to urge Target from getting rid of the popular mural — which depicts a fuzzy red monster riding a running pink, blue and purple T-Rex — when they move into the 35,200 square-foot building.
“This mural is a landmark. It delights people of all ages and Is better served proudly displayed as it always has been,” the petition read. The petition never reached it’s 25,000 signature goal, though it was not clear what the steps following the signature gathering would be.
The artist behind the mural, who goes by Madsteez, posted Monday on social media a photo of his mural being covered up with the caption, “Goodbye old friend ��….looks like @target won.”
As the mural was being painted over, Daniel Hutson, who works at nearby City Tacos, stopped to take a look and express his sadness over the removal of what was once a community staple.
“Talk about gentrification, man,” Hutson said. “You’re taking something that was like, wholesome and organic and turning it into cookie-cutter corporation stuff.”
Target’s mini store will feature products typically found in one of the chain’s retail location, including apparel, groceries, and entertainment goods. There will also be a CVS Pharmacy inside.
Hutson said he was not entirely upset that a Target was moving in and saw the positive in it, at first.
“There are people all over San Diego that don’t get a chance to experience North Park, so if it take a big name like Target to attract outsiders in, then maybe it will help the community as a whole,” he said. “But taking away something meaningful from the community to put in something that is not sentimental… A Target may be useful, it may be handy, but it’s not sentimental.”
The retail store did say they would have a “curated assortment” of goods to fit with the community and worked with the North Park Planning Committee and North Park Main Street to commission local art for the store.
Target recently announced Channin Fulton and Kaori Fukuyama were hired by the company to bring a local touch to the new location.
The store was set to debut in November but Target’s website now lists the North Park location on their list of store openings slated for 2019.
The building began as a JCPenney department store in 1942 that operated for three decades. The building went on to house other retail stores but, eventually, sat vacant from 2008 until Wang’s North Park, an Asian-fusion restaurant that shuttered in late May 2015 after a few years in business.
Photo Credit: Google Maps/NBC 7
Source: NBC San Diego