Patricia Bell has volunteered hundreds of hours of her personal time making our community a safer, more vibrant place. This year she completes her tenure on the volunteer-based Leucadia 101 Board of Directors and reflects on her twelve years of involvement. Read on to discover what inspires Patricia about our community’s character and how her vision for Leucadia 101 Main Street continues to evolve.
What makes Leucadia a special place to live?
I think what is most exciting right now is to see the reverence of agriculture coming back into Encinitas with the community garden and the Urban Agriculture Ordinance so that people can now grow and share produce from their own property. While some things have changed over the years we are still a small agricultural beach town with the ocean and sunsets constantly reminding us that this is a special place to live. We have great food establishments to enjoy and there is always great music, art and creativity happening in Leucadia.
Why was it important to you to dedicate so much time and energy to Leucadia 101 Main Street?
My big issue was the safety on North Coast Highway 101. From 2002 to 2008 I owned Embellishments, a gift shop on Hwy 101. I saw how unsafe our Main Street corridor was firsthand and I wanted to see those issues addressed. As a new small business owner I also wanted to support our local business community by seeing improvements to our community’s infrastructure that would make Leucadia more friendly to foot traffic.
What are some of your favorite recollections of your 12 years with Leucadia 101?
Our first LeucadiArt Walk in 2004 was great because we had the chance to celebrate the artists who make Leucadia so unique and creative. We didn’t even have sidewalks back then and it was a huge wake-up call that we really needed them if we were going to welcome so many people for awesome events like the LeucadiART Walk. It was clear that businesses would be more accessible and friendly on a daily basis to passerby if we had more connected sidewalks. We worked to get the temporary sidewalks after that and finally seeing the Leucadia stamp sealed onto the concrete was a really fulfilling achievement for us. I still really love our sidewalk stamps and the progress they represent.
What is the best way for community members to play an active role in supporting Leucadia?
I also serve with Leucadia Town Council and recommend to neighbors to be involved with that organization. Just by attending Main Street events you get the chance to enjoy the vibrancy of our local businesses, musicians and artists right here in our own town. Board members are always present at Leucadia events and love talking to community members about what’s in the works with Leucadia Main Street. I also recommend staying on top of the issues if you really want to contribute to maintaining and preserving our community’s character as it evolves and changes. It’s really useful to attend City Council meetings every once in a while to see what the public process is like. There are so many ways to be productive in the community and some are as simple as just picking up trash. Definitely support your local businesses because they are the lifeblood of a thriving main street!
What are some great achievements and initiatives you have helped execute during your service on the board?
The temporary sidewalks were a huge win for the community and like I mentioned earlier the sidewalk stamp is our personal seal of that achievement. It was key to improving safety when Leucadia 101 advocated for a speed limit reduction to 35 miles per hour along Highway 101.
I really loved starting Light Up Leucadia (in December Highway 101 businesses adorn their facades with holiday lighting and compete for a prize and local recognition). There were some really good years of that! Adding Summer Fun on the 101 to the annual events we put on for the community was a great enhancement to our community character and so much fun to be a part of!
How has the Main Street program grown since you were elected to the board?
It’s so encouraging to see that over the years Leucadia 101 Main Street is meeting a broader spectrum of interests. The newly elected members have a lot of expertise to draw from and their qualifications are very in-line with the organization’s vision. I love the youthfulness of the 2017 board and to see the younger generation of Leucadians getting civically engaged in the Main Street mission. Even though I am no longer serving on the board, it’s important for me to stay engaged as a volunteer and find new ways to be of service to my community!