The city of Chula Vista wants to adorn the blank facade of the Community Congregational Tower with digital media to instill a deeper sense of identity, community pride, and joy within the heart of Chula Vista.
The Community Congregational Tower is a subsidized housing community for seniors aged 62 and over. It is the tallest building in Chula Vista, standing 200 feet tall at the southeast corner of Third Avenue and F Street.
A decades-long desire to see artwork on the west side of the Community Congregational Tower lead Chula Vista Councilwoman Jill Galvez to spearhead an effort that would transform the building into a digital clock tower that could potentially project the time, art, silent movies, or even holiday themes. The city put on a brief light show on the evening of Sept. 26 to test out a 50,000 lumens 3D LED projector that could possibly execute Galvez’s vision.
With approval from the FAA, and in collaboration with Cristie’s Digital and Liquid Light, the city projected colors and video onto the tower from the sideways-tilted projector at the top of a scissor lift at the median of downtown Third Avenue.
“It was funny watching the reactions of people frequenting Third Avenue. Normally, there are more diners on the east side of the street, but on this particular evening, the west side was heavily populated to get a good view,” said Galvez during a city council meeting, where she formally announced the effort.
Galvez has worked on this effort for about three and a half years and is working with city staff and the Downtown Chula Vista Association to eventually establish what could become a regional attraction in the near future.
“Technology has caught up with this 30-year-old hope to have some sort of art on that tower. We are, along with city staff, trying to get a 3D LED projector pointed at the congregation tower to create a digital clock tower, a city center, a point of attraction— something that can be seen from far and wide,” Galvez said.
According to Galvez, the projector will need to be mounted permanently and requires a fiber-optic connection to the library and a power source. An estimated cost for this project is yet to be determined.
During the meeting, Chula Vista Mayor Mary Casillas Salas noted the attraction value this project would have but cited some concerns.
“I saw a lot of people stopping in the streets with their cars so we have to make sure people are safe and not disrupting traffic to see this. What I love about it is the stationary visual because the color was so intense,” Salas said. “It will be clearly visible from the Bayfront to the tourists there and that will be a draw to the businesses on Third Avenue. I think it will do a lot to attract that. I won't be around for that budget vote, but I wish whoever on the council will examine this.”
Chula Vista Councilman Steve Padilla, who is also a candidate for California state Senate District 18, commended Galvez for her concept and expressed support.
“Count me in going forward. I really like this concept and I really hope the next city council and the city will move in this direction. This can be a transformative experience," Padilla said.
Community members with questions or comments are asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org.