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La Mesa Mayor meets with East County GAC

posted Apr 1, 2015, 4:29 PM by Joyce Evans   [ updated Apr 2, 2015, 5:19 AM by Richard D'Ascoli ]
PSAR’s East County Government Affairs Committee (GAC) recently hosted La Mesa Mayor Mark Arapostathis at a “Lunch and Learn” program at the East County Service Center. The program sponsor was HomeBridge Financial Services.

 

“Dr. A,” as he is called by his students, supporters and friends, discussed new La Mesa projects and development opportunities. The topics ranged from the La Mesa Village street scape renovation project to his new role as mayor compared to his eight years of serving as a La Mesa city councilman. In the November 2014 election, Araposthathis (pronounced uh-WRAP-oh-sta-THIS) unseated Art Madrid who had been La Mesa’s mayor for nearly a quarter of a century.

 

“La Mesa’s demographics are changing with a growing number of younger families who are looking for more parks and recreation services and cultural arts,” said Araposthathis. “The city is in good shape financially. I’m proud to sell La Mesa. Our quality of life is high. It’s a good place to raise a family and retire.”

 

Among the topics Arapostathis discussed with PSAR members:

  • Future plans for Grossmont Center (“we’ve been promised it will remain retail, and, no, there are no plans to level it and build a new Chargers stadium”);
  • A new senior housing project planned by the Westmont Companies of San Diego for 3.3 acres of city land near Briercrest Park;
  • Improvements planned for Collier Park, a 95-year-old, 7.7-acre park located at 4401 Palm Ave. (La Mesa has a total of 14 parks);
  • Educational opportunities in La Mesa, including the opening in August 2014 of the La Mesa Arts Academy, a school focusing on performing arts for 4th-to-8th graders that operates at the La Mesa Middle School campus;
  • The Boys and the Girls Clubs of East County currently fundraising campaign to build a new 25,000-square-foot Brady Family Clubhouse, including a 10,000-square-foot gymnasium named after Bill Walton, to be built near La Mesa Middle School;
  • Current construction of 198 apartments on Parkway Drive, the former Coleman College campus site, by Fairfield Residential Co., developers also of Alterra at Grossmont Trolley, 8727 Fletcher Parkway, La Mesa.

Arapostathis also expressed excitement about the plans of the Depot Springs Beer Co. to build a restaurant, bakery, amphitheater and distillery in 30,000 square feet at a retail center at 9160-9188 Fletcher Parkway, near Dallas Street. Depot Springs is expected to open later this year.

 

A graduate of Helix High School, co-creator of the La Mesa Arts Academy and director of the Peter Pan Junior Theater, Arapostathis has taught in the public schools for the past 24 years and is a past recipient of the Teacher of the Year award.  Dr. A has championed many programs in La Mesa, including Safe Routes to School, a program that encourages students to walk and ride bicycles to school, and the Neighborhood Watch and emergency preparedness programs, designed to promote safer streets and communities and help residents get prepared for emergencies.