Third Avenue’s new look complete

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They have rebuilt it, now we’ll see if they will come.

The city of Chula Vista Wednesday marked the final step in an almost decade long plan to revitalize Third Avenue downtown.

Starting back in 2012, the city and its partners, including Third Avenue Village Association, SANDAG and TRANSNET, pour slightly more than $14 million into revitalizing the once bustling business district.

The area hadn’t fallen into the same kind of disrepair and disrepute as parts of downtown San Diego had decades before its Gaslamp Quarter and East Village rebirth. But over time Third Avenue had become a sleepy thoroughfare that attracted few, except for those who were seeking a formal gown, a new hairstyle, or antique jewelry.

Incrementally, however, a makeover got underway thanks, in part, to some easing of regulations and healthy doses of optimism from people who thought they might stake a claim for themselves while at the same time breathing new life onto the avenue.

Boutique eateries sprouted here and there and then, after some time, faded away as did delis and coffeehouses. A dearth of foot traffic was frequently cited as a reason for doors closing and businesses shuttering.

The solution to that problem was reshaping the avenue so that it became more pedestrian friendly.

The street was narrowed and sidewalks widened and medians planted. At the same time residents, and beer aficionados, finally saw the county’s second largest city jump onto the craft brew party train as more beer pubs opened and were followed by restaurants.

It looked for a while that Third Avenue was rebounding from a cyclical downturn in business activity, compounded by new shopping options in the east part of the city, then a turn to online shopping and then a housing market crash and recession.

And now a pandemic keeps most people at home.

But as we slowly come closer to the end of the worst days of COVID-19 it appears a new Third Avenue will be waiting to welcome people back to the business district.

Third Avenue’s revitalization is near completion. Stay safe and healthy so that together we can celebrate it’s new beginning.

Third Avenue’s new look complete