Sea urchins and their scholastic counterparts can rest easier now that enough money has been raised to keep the Living Coast Discovery Center open at least one more year.
The cat slipped out of the bag in early October when news of the center’s imminent closure made the rounds at a breakfast meeting, although rumors of financial hardship had been drifting around before then.
Supporters of the aquarium/zoo clamored to raise the $200,000 in operating costs that would tide it over until a new business model could be developed. In the end they raised twice what they needed.
Now students have one more local attraction they can visit on field trips and the Chamber of Commerce retains a talking point when selling Chula Vista as a tourist destination.
At least for one more year.
The newly found $400,000 is enough to keep the center operating through 2014. Beyond that, who knows? There’s talk of bigger and better business plans, of creating an institution that doesn’t have to rely on bake sales and handouts to survive. But what is it they say about talk? Unlike running a sustainable business, it’s cheap?
Nonetheless, the fundraising unified the community and gave people a common goal. Aside from the fact that it was not able to survive on its own, my only other disappointment is that the center’s nearest neighbor, Eyecandy Showgirls, wasn’t inspired to buy the naming rights to the wildlife refuge.
The all-nude dance club has been at its bayfront location for slightly more than a year, much to the chagrin of city officials who say they were blindsided when the club sneaked into the city through the back door.
Some critics of the gentleman’s club said its proximity to the nature center — where school children often visit — is inappropriate. And because it was on valuable bayfront property, the city of Chula Vista has been adamant in its demand the club relocate. Eyecandy has been equally staunch in its position that it will stay put. And so really the only thing that has changed in the last 12 months is the increase in billable hours from attorneys for both sides.
In hiring locals and hosting car shows, the club has made some attempts at assimilating into the community. It has even hinted they would fund a bayfront fireworks show in 2014.
But had the dance club come up with money to fund the center long-term through naming rights, they could have ingratiated themselves into even the most conservative of hearts. And they could have used one of the best slogans my little brain has devised:
Eyecandy Seequarium: Where the wild life meets the wildlife.
Oh well, maybe they can use it in a couple of years. If recent history is any sort of indicator, not much will have changed in 2015.