At a special fundraising event held Saturday, Sept. 29 to benefit the Fallbrook Village Association and the Art in Public Places program, three new items were celebrated in the heart of historic downtown Fallbrook. The central gathering spot known as the Village Square was renamed and a new sculpture and fountain were installed at the property.
Now carrying the name Vince Ross Village Square, the center will honor a man who has lived here for 48 years and devoted an unprecedented amount of time to help Fallbrook formulate a plan for success. Ross was humble in accepting the recognition.
“There are many deserving people who have been very active in making things
happen,” said Ross.
The sculpture installed in the square at the event, entitled “The Larger Circle,” was constructed in honor of Ross and funded by his family members and friends. Created by artist Don Rambadt, it carries the inscription, “We clasp the hands of those who came before us and those who come after us,” – Wendell Berry.
A Fountain of Giving is now also in place in the square and the first two individuals to be honored with plaques at the site will be Ross and fellow longtime community volunteer Wallace Tucker, who is well known for his efforts with the Fallbrook Land Conservancy.
“The Fountain of Giving is a special place to pay tribute to individuals who have been significant volunteers and financial contributors in the community; it celebrates the spirit of volunteerism and philanthropy,” explained Ross.
Individuals can be nominated to be recognized on a plaque at the Fountain of Giving by following a process that has been established.
“An individual, who has been involved in community endeavors for 10 years or more, can be nominated,” said Ross. “There will be an application fee and the nomination will be reviewed by a panel. After that a decision will be rendered and those selected for recognition will be able to have a celebration in the square.”
The inscription that will be affixed to the Fountain of Giving will read, “Water is the essence of human life; the spirit of giving is the essence of community life; and art is the essence of the human soul.” –Vince Ross.
The celebration also included acknowledgement of the Fallbrook Village Association’s 20th anniversary year, an organization of which Ross is the founding president. The association is overseen by a governing board of nine individuals.
“What pleases me about the Fallbrook Village Association is that we have been able to create some things that are going to be lasting,” said Ross. Those projects include the Village Square, Jackie Heyneman (Beech Street) Park, the Fallbrook Art Center, and more.
Of the successful projects, Ross said the vibrancy and energy the square contains for multiple events has proven to make it a “jewel.”
“Getting the arts program started the way we did was very entrepreneurial,” he explained. “It was done based on the crisis we were facing at the time. We bought the building out of bankruptcy and went boldly into the art business.”
Of Jackie Heyneman (Beech Street) Park, Ross said, “It will likely have a new future and house a skateboard park.”
Ross said the projects have resulted in “facilities that are lasting.”
“They will probably always be there, although every nonprofit is challenged right now,” he said. “It leaves a legacy of what volunteers can do for their town.”
The Fallbrook Village Association was created at the request of the Revitalization Council – to implement revitalization programs and strategies locally.
San Diego County Supervisor Bill Horn was on hand at the Sept. 29 celebration, along with about 130 other individuals.
“Since I moved here in 1964, I have known every county supervisor and we have never had any of them support us like Bill Horn has,” said Ross.
Ross said while the Village Association has achieved many successes, challenges continue.
“We’ve had failures, and are struggling to make ends meet, as all non-profits are,” he said. “But on the other hand, our successes in this community show people are willing to get behind things they have confidence in. We have proof of what can be done.”
“But today we are having as big of challenges as we were 20 years ago,” said Ross. “Consistent, ongoing funding is what is needed; we are hoping property owners can get together and keep the heart of our town healthy. We also need to focus on drawing more and more young energy into the efforts.”