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Boosters gather for downtown sign support

The La Mesa Downtown District is a few tiles closer to getting signage in The Village with guests that purchased tiles. Members of the La Mesa Village Association Board of Directors and officers, the fiscal partner, La Mesa Parks & Recreation Foundation, City representatives, and downtown La Mesa business owners joined in at the La Mesa Downtown District Sign Tile Painting Kick Off Event at CeramiCafe in Grossmont Center on April 19.

The Downtown District Sign will be located in the heart of the Village at La Mesa Boulevard and Palm Avenue and will consist of two columns of brass plaques around the top and a total of 1,512 hand-painted 4”x4” ceramic tiles.

The LMVA entered a partnership with the La Mesa Park & Recreation Foundation to be the fiscal sponsor of the project, who provides fiduciary oversight, financial management and other administrative services for the project.

La Mesa Park & Recreation Foundations Executive Director Misty Thompson said part of the draw to this is that many of the other small cities have signs in its downtown district, and there is nothing in La Mesa welcoming people to The Village.

“By partnering with CeramiCafe, we have one centralized location where individuals can go at their convenience to paint their tiles,” said Thompson. “CeramiCafe has helped us streamline this process by storing and labeling all the tiles and managing the painting process of those who have purchased tiles. We are extremely grateful to have them as a community partner for this important project.”

In order to paint a tile for the La Mesa Downtown District Sign, individuals must have already purchased a tiles. Those who have paid for their tiles are now invited to the La Mesa Cerami- Cafe location to paint their tiles. People can walk in or make a reservation online at to paint their tiles during regular business hours. CeramiCafe is conveniently located in Grossmont Center. CeramiCafe has a master list provided by the LMPRF of who has purchased tiles and how many. Individuals are not able to purchase District Sign tiles at CeramiCafe as they have all been sold.

“That is what this whole tile painting is about,” said Thompson. “The community coming together to paint those tiles, and that is what is going to be on the columns of the sign. Last week we were fully funded. That tells you that the community came out heavily. We have raised $430,000 in a community-funded project in less than a year. There are no City funds for this project. The community really wants the sign. They loved it and they are going to be able to be part of this sign forever. They can hand paint the tile, their children can hand paint the tile, they can put a paw print on the tile. They are going to have their personal stamp and it is going to go up on that column where they can come up and find it. Years from now, they can come back and see their tile up on that column.”

Thompson said although there are no more ceramic tiles to be sold, around the top of each column will be ordained with brass plaques. Brass plaques are $10,000, $15,000, and $30,000. She said they still have two open sides that are still available. She said that the plaque information can be found at the La Mesa Village Association website. She said there is not much space left, so depending on the size of plaques purchased, depends on how many can be sold.

Thompson said the sign is still in the engineering phase before taking it to the City for an encroachment permit, then the project will go out to bid and get a contractor in place.

“All the tiles are 4×4 inch. They are all hand painted,” she said. “I think that is what makes this unique and gives it a real community feel. Once we get everything done, we will do a groundbreaking and start construction. We are looking at fall of this year for the groundbreaking. Our plan is to get this going soon after Oktoberfest.”

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