By J. Daniel Geddis President, Mission Hills Business Improvement District Realtor, Team D&B at One Mission Realty
As a bonafide foodie, I’ve enjoyed the experience of Mission Hills’ continuing renaissance of excellent eating establishments and specialty drink shops, up close and personal. I’ll admit it––I’ve Instagramed a few meals and drinks enjoyed in Mission Hills! It is a pleasure to invite friends, family, and clients to join me for something delicious at one of Mission Hills’ great spots. I can never go wrong letting my guests choose the place! During the nearly ten years I have been a Realtor at One Mission Realty the excitement and attention to Mission Hills as a culinary destination has experienced exponential growth.
Since 2014 I have helped promote the annual Taste of Mission Hills, crunching the numbers as the BID tracked its targeted attendee demographic and staying in touch with the attendees through MailChimp and a variety of social media platforms. As president of the Mission Hills BID in 2019 it was my privilege to announce the 8th annual event and I remained hopeful, despite business closures and re-openings resulting from COVID pandemic mandates, in 2020 I would be announcing a 9th Annual Taste of Mission Hills to our local community and the region. The BID had secured commitments from more than 20 Mission Hills’ venues, reserved three Old Town Trolleys, and we were looking forward to again sharing the 5-mile taste route with loyal taste attendees from nearby and as far north as San Clemente, Rancho Santa Fe, and La Jolla, and from the south in Bonita and downtown San Diego.
With Mission Hills BID’s analytical orientation, as soon as the re-openings were announced, we developed a brief survey and delivered it by MailChimp to online ticket purchasers from the last three years of Taste of Mission Hills events. The survey assessed likely attendance at an October event and into 2021. It received scattered responses and did not instill confidence that attendees would be comfortable participating in an October 7th Taste of Mission Hills event.
Sadly, a decision was made and a 2020 Taste of Mission Hills will not be happening. Depending on what the pandemic climate reveals during the next couple months, the BID may consider an early 2021 Taste of Mission Hills.
Our close to five hundred Mission Hills BID members have been pivoting, evolving, transitioning, and, for the most part, digging into their entrepreneurial spirit to remain open while adhering to state and local mandates during the COVID pandemic. Challenged by necessary social distancing many are operating at a bare minimum of tables and chairs and patrons allowed in outside and indoor spaces. They are our heroes!
In late-September when I stopped by my office I enjoyed the happy sounds coming from the St. Vincent School playground. Susan, the BID’s executive director and elected representative from Mission Hills to the Uptown Community Parking District, shared with me a recent UCPD meeting in Fort Oak‘s outdoor patio, wearing masks and practicing 6 feet of social distancing, “to a person everyone commented on the feeling of normalcy the students provided.”
St. Vincent School has been a long time member of the Mission Hills BID. Their K-8 classrooms successfully opened Sept 1 in stages, with all grades back on campus by Sept 10, following best and safest practices to combat the spread of COVID-19, based on guidance from the San Diego County Office of Education, the California Department of Public Health, the Center for Disease Control, the San Diego County Public Health Order, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Diocese of San Diego. Principal Lynn Crockett shared, “We continue to monitor health and safety updates and are vigilant with daily wellness checks for students and staff. Children are eager learners in class and at home, and we’re fortunate to have outdoor lunches and physically distanced PE and playtime.”
The school has upgraded technology that supports a transition between distance and on-campus learning. The Distance Learning option is available for all students in all circumstances. When on-campus learning is open, if a student needs to remain at home due to illness, international travel, COVID 19 exposure, or by parent choice, the student may remain engaged via the Distance Learning option. When asked about her family’s experience, parent Rosanna Barr-Wampach replied, “As a family with two students enrolled at St. Vincent School we are so impressed and very grateful to the teachers and staff at our school.” Her son, Matthew, a 7th grader at St Vincent’s quickly chimed in, “Going back to in-person school is like a dream come true.”
Despite mask fatigue and a real need to be able to hug one another, please join me in continuing safe practices so that we may soon advance from a new normal into a true normal.
Thanks for reading this monthly column. Please share it with a friend. For questions, comments, and suggestions please contact Susan McNeil Schreyer, executive director, at MissionHillsBID@gmail.com.