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University Heights to mark iconic street sign’s 20th year

By SDCNN Staff

The University Heights Community Association (UHCA), Park Boulevard merchants and residents, friends, family and neighbors will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the University Heights street sign on Park Boulevard on Saturday, April 29, from 5-8 p.m.

Called “20 Electrifying Years,” the celebration will kick off with an opening event at 5 p.m. under the sign, in front of Park & Rec at 4612 Park Blvd., with appearances by County Supervisor Ron Roberts and City Councilmember Chris Ward.

The iconic University Heights neon sign turns 20. (Photo by Philip Gill)

Roberts represents the Supervisor District 2 and Ward the City Council District 3, both of which include University Heights (UH). Also on hand will be Kevin Whaley, a 30-year UH resident who designed the sign — full of visual symbols of the community’s history — 20 years ago.

The evening’s highlights include restaurant and merchant walks, food and beverage samples, discounts, a light show and more.

“Nothing symbolizes University Heights’ community pride and sense of place more than the University Heights sign on Park Boulevard,” said Philip Gill, event chair and a 25-year UH resident. “Indeed, some old-time residents say many San Diego residents had heard of University Heights, but never seemed to know where it was located until the sign went up!”

“For 20 years, the UH sign has presided over — indeed, many UH residents would say spurred on — the revitalization of the commercial district on the 4600 block of Park Boulevard, now known as ‘the village’ by many residents,” he said. “That’s why it’s entirely appropriate to mark its 20th anniversary with this special celebration event.”

After the opening ceremony, participants who purchase a $10 wristband will be treated to complimentary food tastes, treats and beverages and special event discounts at some of Park Boulevard’s leading establishments. As of April 10, participating merchants, listed alphabetically, include: Cecilia’s Fine Jewelry, 4669 Park Blvd.; EnviouSkin, 4670 Park Blvd.; Madison on Park, 4622 Park Blvd.; Meraki Café, 1735 Adams Ave.; Muzita’s Abyssinia Bistro, 4651 Park Blvd.; Red House Pizza, 4615 Park Blvd.; Soltan Banoo, 4645 Park Blvd.; Twiggs Cafe & Bakery, 4590 Park Blvd.; and Park & Rec, 4612 Park Blvd.

A special closing ceremony for the evening’s festivities will be held in front of Park & Rec at 8 p.m., after sundown. This will feature a symbolic “relighting” of the sign and a special light show presented by Andy Cameron, creator of “Norbert the Dragon,” a key feature of the annual Halloween night event on UH’s Maryland Avenue.

Wristbands will go on sale at 4 p.m. that evening at the check-in desk in front of Twiggs Café & Bakery, located at 4590 Park Blvd., at the corner of Madison Avenue.

Event sponsors include UHCA, Kevin Whaley, Airbnb, Mary Anne Stevens and Nan McGraw. Special thank-you’s go out to Paul Farris for event graphics; Andy Cameron, the lighting guru; and all the participating merchants and restaurants.

About UHCA

The University Heights Community Association was founded in 1983 by individuals and merchants wanting to preserve the community’s integrity and enhance the quality of life for its residents. Since then, projects have included distribution of an award-winning monthly newspaper, ongoing landscape cleanups and replantings, Lights in the Heights, Coffee with the Cops, and Cycle in the Heights. UHCA is a 501(c)(3) with 320 members serving a diverse urban community of nearly 14,000 residents.

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