Historic Hillcrest sign up for grabsAround the City, Top Highlights Thursday, November 3rd, 2011
The historic Hillcrest sign, which was replaced in August with a new more eco–friendly sign, is up for grabs. The Hillcrest Business Association (HBA) has issued a request for bid that allows businesses and members of the community to compete to become owners of the iconic Hillcrest fixture.
HBA announced the availability of the sign on its Web site and contacted a few community organizations to determine their interest in acquiring the sign. In its request for bid, the HBA outlined the following criteria for the selection process:
• A plan that considers the long-term storage of the old sign
• Whether and how the sign will be presented so that the public may view it
• Whether and how the sign will be restored
• If and what monetary consideration will be offered to the business community for the sign
• How the sign will be transported from its current location at the City lot downtown
Three proposals of interest were received by the HBA from Nick Moede, owner of Rich’s, Darin Erb owner of Winn’s Barbershop, and Brett Serwalt, the owner of Obelisk Bookstore. The Save Our Heritage Organization, as well as Chris Shaw, owner of Urban Mo’s, Baja Betty’s and Gossip Grill, also expressed interest but did not submit formal proposals. Darin Erb said “Winn’s is the longest running business in Hillcrest and we have a long history with the sign. We hope the board will recognize that history.”
Some have suggested that there is a major conflict of interest with the impending HBA board vote Nov. 8, which will determine who is awarded the sign. Nick Moede is the president of the HBA but he also submitted a proposal to acquire the sign.
Given Moede’s relationship with the HBA, it has been suggested that he should rescind his proposal to ensure it does not create ethics and conflict of interest concerns for the HBA. “The Hillcrest Business Association adheres to the rules set by the City,” said Ben Nicholls, executive director. “If there is financial gain, the board member has to disclose the conflict and is not able to vote.” Nicholls also indicated that the board member with the conflict can leave the room during the vote but that was not required.
Nicholls said the HBA board did not want to make the acquisition of the sign about raising money. He said two of the proposals do not include any cash payment to the HBA. San Diego LGBT Weekly has learned that the Moede proposal includes a $3,000 cash payment to the HBA. All of the proposals include a provision that the sign would be returned to the HBA if the business moved out of Hillcrest or ceased to operate.
Given the limited knowledge about the availability of the sign, Nicholls indicated that he felt the board would be open to other proposals. If you have an interest, please contact the HBA immediately.
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