As we dive into 2019 refreshed and focused on achieving new goals, I want to take a moment to reflect on all that we have accomplished in 2018. It was an eventful year filled with excitement and renewal, both literally and figuratively, as we and our city partners launched a public process to reinvigorate the Third Street Promenade, and secured support from property owners for another 10 years of stewardship over Downtown Santa Monica.
· Promenade 3.0
The City of Santa Monica and DTSM, Inc. have funded a joint effort to assess the Promenade's infrastructure needs and see how people use the space. The effort is part of the Promenade 3.0 revisioning process to make sure it remains a popular community gathering space for the next generation of Santa Monicans. As more people choose to spend money on experiences, with dining being a significant driver, it's key to create places that offer those opportunities to complement the retail component. A public space/public life survey has been conducted and results will be presented, along with recommendations, to the City Council in the coming weeks. We will continue to provide updates as the process moves forward.
· Launched Quality of Life Team
To address an increase in anti-social behavior and to provide help to those in need of housing, mental health treatment or medical care, DTSM, Inc. and its vendor, Block by Block, launched the Quality of Life Team comprised of specially trained and branded ambassadors to focus exclusively on these long-standing issues. In conjunction with the City, DTSM, Inc. is working diligently on solutions to our region's homeless crisis, with the Quality of Life Team being just one of many initiatives.
· Connecting people to services
As part of our efforts to eliminate homelessness, DTSM, Inc. has collaborated with The Salvation Army and Food Not Bombs to provide free meals to homeless individuals, but instead of doing so on the Third Street Promenade, the meals are now provided in a safe and secure location where social service providers are present to help people get the support they need to get off the streets and into housing. The deal to move the meals indoors took some time to broker, but DTSM, Inc. never relented as we know that connecting people with services, as well as nutritious meals, is one of the keys to helping someone rebuild their life.
· 10-year renewal
In March of 2018 property owners within the Downtown Santa Monica Property-based Assessment District voted overwhelmingly in favor of preserving it and allowing Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. to continue providing award-winning maintenance, hospitality and marketing services. It's been a dynamic, destination-making decade for Downtown Santa Monica. The district has expanded to include new zones and businesses to encompass a thriving urban space that now welcomes over 15 million people annually. It's been DTSM Inc.'s responsibility to guide this period of unprecedented growth.
· The Experiment
As part of Promenade 3.0, DTSM, Inc. created The Experiment to breathe new life into the northern block of the Promenade by adding moveable street furniture, elevated grass patches, colorful decorations, a reading library and games. So far it has been a huge hit and we have already seen people lingering longer on the block.
· Lincoln light poles
While much attention has been paid to the Promenade, we haven't forgotten about other parts of the district, including our most recently added zone along Lincoln Boulevard, which is experiencing tremendous growth thanks to new housing development. Our first beautification and branding project on Lincoln included the installation of colorful and protective light pole wraps featuring our social media hashtag #DTSantaMonica. The wraps not only help visitors find their way and serve as a warm welcome to the downtown, but they also prevent vandals from posting stickers and graffiti.
· Launch of the DTSM Market Report
Pushing further into the realm of real estate leasing and business recruitment, DTSM, Inc. began publishing The Downtown Santa Monica Market Report, a quarterly publication featuring transportation and demographic data, market trends, and new development to help property owners, brokers and prospective businesses learn more about what the district has to offer.
· Maintaining free parking
DTSM, Inc. was pleased to advocate for and secure the retention of 90-minutes free parking in downtown parking structures. The City Council raised parking rates and relocated monthly parkers to free up space for visitors. As part of that discussion, the suggestion to eliminate the 90-minute grace period was on the table. But with the help of our merchants, we were able to convince elected officials that the grace period should be retained as it is something residents have advocated for.
· Activating Ocean & Colorado
DTSM, Inc. entered into a licensing agreement with the City to activate the corner of Ocean and Colorado avenues as it had become a magnet for anti-social behavior, including narcotics sales and public intoxication. DTSM, Inc. selected a food vendor to be present at the site, established rules and provided comfortable seating for customers and others who wished to enjoy the space, which is located directly across from the Santa Monica Pier entrance. The anti-social behavior has been greatly reduced and the corner is now a pleasant place to relax, eat and enjoy the view.
· Cops on the block
To round out the year, DTSM, Inc. collaborated with a local property owner and the Santa Monica Police Department to create the Promenade Holiday Substation during the holiday shopping season. The additional police presence was well received by all, and was something missing from the Promenade for roughly 10 years. We were delighted to bring our police officers back to the Promenade and could not have done it without them and our friends at American Realty Advisors. DTSM, Inc. also played a supporting role in launching a new security detail in the Downtown parking structures. Funding has been approved for a private security company to patrol the structures, looking for suspicious activity in hopes of cutting down the number of auto burglaries.
Thank you for reading!
DTSM, Inc. CEO Kathleen Rawson