If you’re a North Park business owner, you’ve probably met Angela Landsberg, head of North Park Main Street (NPMS). Angela has headed up the organization since 2011 and has been instrumental both in solving problems for the neighborhood, such as overflowing trashcans and graffiti, and improvements like bike racks, artful utility boxes and murals.
Who Is Angela
“At NPMS I have seen our community come together to make North Park one of the most desirable destinations in our city.”
Angie is a force, and many business district improvements over the past several years have her fingerprints all over them. I recently sat down with Angela to chat about her journey.
Kim Hawley: How long have you lived in San Diego, and what brought you to North Park?
Angela Landsberg: I was raised in San Diego. I spent my early years in North Park (I attended Alice Birney Elementary and roller skated at Palisade Gardens Roller Rink in the ‘80s) and then returned as an adult to this area in the early ‘90s. I worked for then City Councilmember Christine Kehoe who represented the district that included North Park, and I fell in love all over again with the community. I was one of the first regular customers at Caffe Calabria back in the day and remember shopping at Sunshine Market, where Ranchos is now. I feel fortunate to have been able to watch it evolve over the years.
KH: North Park has come a long way since your first days at NPMS. What were your challenges when you started? Now?
AL: One of our biggest challenges eight years ago was increasing daytime businesses and clientele for those businesses. In 2011, virtually no one was walking the streets of the district during the day. As the years went on and new businesses opened, developments were built and more and more people started living and working in the neighborhood. Definitely, the addition of The North Parker (Upas & 30th), Habitat on 31st (31st and North Park Way) and You’ve Got Mail (Grim & North Park Way) brought a new element of working professionals to the neighborhood. In addition, the increase of daytime businesses gave people from all over San Diego and beyond a reason to come to North Park. I knew that once our nighttime restaurants started opening for lunch, we were on the right trajectory.
KH: What do you view as your most significant accomplishments?
AL: The best part of my job is being able to bring people together to work on projects, collaborate, and build a sense of community. In the time that I’ve been at NPMS I have seen our community of businesses, residents, property owners, churches, schools and other nonprofits come together to make North Park one of the most desirable destinations in our city. All of the progress that North Park has seen over the past decade is a result of many individuals working together.
As an example, our graphic design company, A7D Creative Group, worked pro bono for years on our events and promoting North Park’s businesses. Their commitment to the community is one of many examples of how many people have contributed to putting North Park on the map, along with the other San Diego destinations like Little Italy, Gaslamp and La Jolla.
KH: Tell me a little bit about the challenges North Park faces today and positive ways in which our community can address them?
AL: North Park is an older urban community, and our sidewalks, streets and infrastructure can often show their age. Luckily, North Park has had a long history of elected officials who have fought hard to make sure that North Park receives its share of resources from the city. In addition, the residents and business owners in North Park are incredibly involved in their community, which adds a level of advocacy that can’t be underestimated.
Currently, North Park is awaiting a mini-park behind the North Park Theatre and a new water pipe that is replacing a 100-year-old system in the 30th Street Pipeline Replacement Project. The University Avenue Mobility Plan will include a mile-and-a-half median along the center of University from Boundary to Alabama. Thanks to the newly formed North Park Property and Business Improvement District (NPPBID), the median will be landscaped instead of just a concrete slab along the center of the district.
Formed last year, the NPPBID is an assessment district funded by property owners and managed by NPMS. Starting it was a labor-intensive, three-year project for me that has resulted in a giant leap in resources for the community, allowing for increased pressure washing, graffiti removal and litter and trash mitigation along our main corridor.