Oceanside CA— Phase two of the Martin Luther King Jr. Corridor was completed on Saturday with the unveiling of new signs along Mesa Drive marking the corridor.
“This is a momentous occasion,” said Gerald Hampton as he opened the ceremony in the Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School auditorium. Mr. Hampton is the 2017 Oceanside Community Service Award recipient.
“This program and the corridor itself would not be possible without our sponsors,” explained Mr. Hampton. “Phase one and phase two, including the signs, were all made possible by private funding. Non of this involves funds from city coffers and that is very important.”
The sponsors in alphabetical order include:
- Barrett Garcia and Company
- BNCC Inc.
- Classic Chariots
- Gerald Hampton
- Jerome Kern
- Mario Boyd
- Michael and Mikoyo Molen
- The Oceanside Firefighters Charity Fund
- Raintree Investment Corp.
- Reginald and Wilma Owens
- Shopoff Land Fund 1, LP #500
- T. Morrissey Corp.
- TSG Morse Oceanside, LCC #510
- Waste Management of North County
Reginald Owens, a retired Marine and lifetime member of the North San Diego County NAACP explained how the corridor came to be. “The City of Oceanside wanted to do something to honor the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and was seeking members to serve on a ad-hoc committee regarding a memorial to the late Dr. King. The committee met five times and I emerged as a spokesman for the group. I presented seven recommendations to the City Council in February, 1989.”
Those recommendations included; naming the Library after Dr. King, name a new park in memory of Dr. King, issue an annual proclamation and citizens award in honor of Dr. King’s birthday, name a meeting room in the new Civic Center complex in honor of Dr. King, acquisition of a bust or portrait of Dr. King, establish a scholarship fund to be awarded to a young person who best exemplifies the ideas of Dr. King, establish a book collection in conjunction with the community on donations to build the collection.
“Six of the recommendations were adopted and implemented” said Mr. Owens, “They are still part of the fabric that makes Oceanside unique and the most envied city in the state of California. Much of the solidarity of the city is played out in the beginning of each year. January with Martin Luther King’s birthday and February with Black History month. The balance of the year is a plethora of culturally rich events that make Oceanside a destination for world travelers.” continued Mr. Owens, “With those six recommendations, there have been a few embellishments. One; the designation of Mesa Drive, between Ranch del Oro and Ivey Ranch Road, as the Martin Luther King Jr. Corridor and two, the reason we are here today; road markers that identify the areas of Mesa Drive that is the Martin Luther King Jr. Corridor. The installation and unveiling of the markers today will conclude the 2016 Martin Luther King Jr. project.
The new year brings new projects including conducting a funding campaign for the maintenance of the signs and sculptures and having them designated as public art. “We want to move the sculptures to Martin Luther King Jr. Park after replacing and refurbishing,” said Mr. Owens.
“I am sincerely grateful for the overwhelming support from the City of Oceanside which has been fearless in leading from the top in lockstep with the citizens marching toward the vision that Dr. King gave to all the people of this great nation. I hope you continue to give your time, your talents and your treasures in making the dream come true for our community.”
For more information about the funding projects visit the North San Diego County NAACP website: http://www.nsdcnaacp.org
Sign photos courtesy of Stephen Davis- Steve Davis Photography
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