San Diego

La Mesa to Celebrate Opening of New Park with Unique Focal Point

Legacy Park will be considered the eastern gateway to La Mesa's newly renovated downtown village

This Wednesday, the City of La Mesa will officially celebrate the opening of a new pocket park with a unique focal point, and history.

The Lookout at Legacy Park is located at the intersection of La Mesa Boulevard and Allison Avenue.

The focal point of the new public art project is a colorful gazebo, which illustrates the city's history and landmarks through mosaic panels.

"It really creates a community gathering spot," said Yvonne Garrett, the Assistant City Manager for the City of La Mesa. "I really think it will become a very important and integral part of our downtown village."

Mary Lynn and Jesus Dominguez, who moved to La Mesa in the 1970s, designed the gazebo and put it together in their home, with the help of their daughter.

"We've got the hills illustrated because its motto is La Mesa, the jewel of the hills," said Mary Lynn Dominguez. "There's also a jewel at the top, so there's symbolism here and there."

Mary Lynn said they called the gazebo "The Lookout" because La Mesa Boulevard was originally called Lookout Boulevard.

The initial challenge, she recalled, was deciding how to transform a small plot of landscape that served as a traffic island into a permanent tribute to the city of La Mesa.

"We started out with a sculpture, then realized maybe it would be more fun to have something more interactive and useful," she explained.

The Lookout project got the green light in 2012, the year of La Mesa's centennial.

"It was in celebration of the centennial, so there's actually one hundred years in tile on it, just as a design element," said Mary Lynn Dominguez.

In one corner of Legacy Park is a bronze casting of a helix aspersa. In 1872, a scientist discovered the snail on land that would eventually be called Mount Helix.

Jesus Dominguez, a former sculpture professor at San Diego State University, created the snail sculpture, with the help of current students.

"I'm so happy with this guy," said Jesus. "In fact, I missed it. I had it in my studio. Every day was like seeing my buddy."

It cost about $165,000 to build Legacy Park. Garrett says most of the money came from community donations. The city also used funds raised at centennial events as seed money to build the park.

"Not only did we have a wonderful year of celebrating our 100th birthday, you now have a permanent place that says, this is all about La Mesa," said Garrett.

Legacy Park will be considered the eastern gateway to La Mesa's newly renovated downtown village, where several months ago, the city debuted new street lights, benches and renovated sidewalks as part of a separate, $6 million dollar project.

"The fact that we now have these wide sidewalks, we have street trees, we have street furniture along the way, makes it an inviting place to stroll and shop," said Garrett.

La Mesa will celebrate the opening of Legacy Park Wednesday evening at 6 p.m.

"Not everybody gets to do something like this," said Jesus Dominguez. "I'm very proud to have a part in this. We love this little city."

Just before Wednesday's celebration, the city will bury a time capsule stored inside a concrete vault, in the middle of the gazebo.

Inside the capsule will be commemorative items from 2012, photos of the city, and other historical items.

It will be unearthed 50 years after the city's centennial, in the year 2062.

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