City of Escondido


News Releases

City Opens Visitors Center on Grand Avenue


August 14, 2013



Katherine Zimmer




Open Reception: Friday, August 16 from 5-7pm

235 E. Grand Avenue, Escondido, CA

A Visitors Bureau in any community serves as an important information portal for visitors and potential residents.  For the past several years, Escondido’s visitor bureau services, known as “Visit Escondido”, have been provided by the Escondido Chamber of Commerce through a contract with the City of Escondido.  The organization’s most recent Executive Director, Katherine Zimmer, has made outstanding progress in promoting Escondido’s diverse attractions and amenities.

As part of the City’s increased emphasis on economic development, the City decided to provide visitors bureau services directly and on July 1, 2013, Katherine Zimmer joined the City Manager’s Office staff as the new Tourism and Marketing Administrator.  According to Joyce Masterson, Director of Economic Development and Community relations, “Visit Escondido plays an important role in helping Escondido achieve its economic development goals.  Having Katherine join our staff will ensure greater coordination with the City’s economic development staff as well as all of our local leisure and hospitality stakeholders.”

With this new reorganization, the “Visit Escondido” office has moved to 235 E. Grand Avenue where it shares space with the Escondido Police Storefront.  This prime location in downtown Escondido will give the office greater exposure and visibility to visitors particularly during Cruisin’ Grand and other special events in downtown Escondido.

Dan Forster, Owner of Design Moe Kitchen & Bath and CEO of the eDBA commented, “The eDBA Escondido Downtown Business Association is pleased to have Visit Escondido join our merchants on Grand Ave. Having Visit Escondido so close to businesses in the downtown core should encourage visitors to learn more about the charming historic character of Escondido. The downtown area is continuing it's long history of being a destination for entertainment, dining and shopping. Having another storefront that visitors can stop into and learn more about what one can do while visiting Escondido is a great addition.”

Visit Escondido has been consistently gaining momentum through marketing, social media, and editorial exposure and by building collaborative relationships with its stakeholders to leverage their unique venue experiences. When attractions, events, wineries, breweries, restaurants, and the arts work together to create a marketing synergy that attracts visitors and keeps them here longer, it impacts the community in a positive, long-term way.

“Successful destination management in this era of social media, global competition, and shorter vacation planning cycles requires a tourism brand to be inviting and intriguing, while offering diverse options in activities and attractions… Escondido has a lot of uniquely varied experiences – something for everyone!” says Katherine Zimmer.

For more information about Visit Escondido go to and connect on and Twitter @VisitEscondido.



Swimming Pool to Open Additional Hours


Contact: Loretta McKinney, 760-839-4382

The City of Escondido will increase the hours of operation for the remainder of the summer season at  the Washington Park Pool. Beginning Sunday, August 4, through August 18, 2013 the pool will be open on the following days and hours for open swim:

Monday through Thursdays: 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Fridays: 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Saturdays: 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Sundays: 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm_

The added days and hours are Sundays for four hours each and Monday and Tuesdays for two hours each. There is a minimal charge of $3 per person for entry.

“The goal of the Recreation Department is to provide as many hours of open swim as possible for the community.” said Loretta McKinney, Director of Lbrary and Community Services.  “As a result of making various adjustments within the existing budget, Escondido City Manager Clay Phillips authorized the additional hours for the pools in anticipation of the hottest weather of the year typically occurring in August.”

The Washington Park Pool is located at 501 N. Rose. For more information regarding open swim and other Recreation programs, call 760-839-4204 or visit the City’s Recreation web site at


Tree Climbers' Jamboree This Weekend in Kit Carson Park

DATE: July 31, 2013
CONTACT: Jose Mercado, President, Hispanic Arborists Association (626) 827-0707

Friday, August 2 through Sunday, August 4, Kit Carson Park will host the Hispanic Arborists Association “Tree Climbers Jamboree.”

The weekend includes a four event competition on Saturday featuring professional tree climbers performing the “work climb”, “palm tree” and “aerial rescue.” Kit Carson Park is located at 3333 Bear Valley Parkway, Escondido.

For more information visit .


Tickets Now on Sale for Grape Day Festival Wine & Craft Beer Tasting Pavilion

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE; Contact: Michelle Geller (760) 839-4587

Celebrating Grape Day has been a festive tradition honoring Escondido’s history for many years. Once again, the City of Escondido is partnering with the Escondido History Center, the Escondido Sunrise Rotary and the California Center for the Arts, Escondido to present a local wine and craft beer tasting experience concurrent with the Grape Day Festival. Inside the pavilion, multi-instrumentalist Adrienne Nims will perform, the California Center for the Arts will lead an interactive art project and San Diego Zoo Global Conservation’s cork recycling team will have fun games and prizes. A portion of the tasting pavilion proceeds will benefit the Escondido History Center.

Featured local wineries* and craft breweries include:

Bernardo Winery

2Plank Vineyards

Orfila Vineyards

California Fruit Wine Company

Cordiano Winery

Vesper Vineyards, Escondido

Offbeat Brewing Company

Plan 9 Alehouse

Stone Brewing Co.

*More wineries to be added

Tickets are $20 prior to the event, or $25 day of the event, and include a commemorative wine glass and tickets good toward wine and craft beer tastings. The Grape Day Festival is free and family-friendly, adjacent tasting pavilion is age 21+. For more information and to purchase tickets go to .


125th Anniversary Celebration Planned for October 6

Contact: Michelle Geller (760) 839-4587,

October 8, 2013 marks Escondido’s 125th anniversary as an incorporated city. A community event commemorating the city’s quasquicentennial will be held on Sunday, October 6, 2013 from 1 – 4 p.m. in Grape Day Park near the Escondido History Center. The event will include family-friendly games and activities, historic photo displays, special presentations and more.

“When Escondido incorporated in 1888, it was a small but bustling town of under 1,200 people,” said Escondido Mayor Sam Abed, remarking on the city’s upcoming milestone. “Since then, it has grown and established itself as a vibrant place to live, a destination for visitors and a prominent economic hub in North County. We are proud of our history, and proud of what we are today – a great city with small town charm. I look forward to sharing this festive occasion with our community.”

Event partners include the City of Escondido, Escondido History Center, Escondido Chamber of Commerce, Escondido Downtown Business Association, Visit Escondido and the California Center for the Arts. For more information visit

Free Public Tours of City Hall and Police and Fire Headquarters


Contact: Joyce Masterson, 760-839-4621

Did you know the City of Escondido offers free guided tours of the award- winning City Hall and the Police and Fire Headquarters buildings?  Both tours are a great way to learn more about city government operations, as well as some fun facts about the City’s history.

Completed in 1988, Escondido City Hall was awarded the prestigious Urban Land Institute Award for Excellence in 1989. The tour includes a walk through City Hall and around its exterior.  Tours of City Hall are offered on a quarterly basis on the first Thursday of January, April, July, and October. Due to the observance of Independence Day, the next tour will be held on July 11, 2013 and will begin at 10:00 a.m. in the City Hall lobby, 201 N. Broadway. The tour lasts approximately 45 minutes. No reservations are required. However, school groups wishing to tour City Hall may arrange to do so by contacting the Community Services Department at 760-839-4691.

Free guided tours of the Police and Fire Headquarters, 1163 N. Centre City Parkway, are available by appointment only.   Please contact Community Service Officer Roberta Akans at 760-839-4961 or  by email at


Catfish Fishing Derby at Lake Wohlford


Contact: Jim Dayberry, 760-839-6398

On Saturday July 6th the City of Escondido  will  host a catfish fishing derby at Lake Wohlford. The event will run from 6 a.m. until midnight. Prizes will be awarded in three categories with an overall biggest fish prize of $500 to be given out. Weigh in stations will be staffed by volunteers from the Escondido Senior Anglers. The three categories are adults, active military, and youth.  With all prizes in the form of Bass Pro Shops gift cards. Each category will have a first, second and third prize of gift cards for $200, $100 and $50. No state fishing license will be required for this event.  A valid City of Escondido Lakes fishing permit, available at the Lake Wohlford Café on the day of the derby, is required.

 There will also be a fundraising breakfast and raffle hosted by the American Legion Auxiliary, Unit 149 and a fundraising luncheon hosted by the Sons of the American Legion, Squadron 149. All of the proceeds from which going to the (Purple Heart Hero Support), an outreach program of MarineParents.Com. 

Boat rentals will be available on a first come first serve basis.  All day motor boats are $35, row boats $17, active military $20.


Employee Agreements for City Manager and City Attorney

Employee Agreements for City Manager and City Attorney


Contact: Joyce Masterson, 760-839-4621

At its June 26th meeting, the Escondido City Council will consider new three-year employment agreements for City Manager Clay Phillips and City Attorney Jeffrey Epp. 

Under the terms of the new agreement, several existing controversial provisions are being eliminated. This includes the elimination of the “evergreen” provision so there is no automatic renewal. It also eliminates the requirement that the base salary of the City Manager be set at “not less than” the third highest city manager salary among San Diego County cities. In addition, severance will be phased out so that no severance benefit will be payable at the end of the term. Also being eliminated are certain travel expenses and reimbursement for an annual physical evaluation. Both employees would receive salary increases in the amount of 3.95% effective July 1, 2013, 2.95% effective July 1, 2014, and 4.95% effective January 1, 2015 based on an annual performance review.

Commenting on the agreements, Mayor Sam Abed said, “Clay and Jeff are two of the most professional, talented and experienced city officials in San Diego County. They have successfully implemented the City Council policies to achieve financial stability for the City during difficult times.  I believe their continued service would serve the City’s best interest for the next three years.”

A copy of the staff report and agreement is available on the City’s website at  


Selection Process for Escondido Police Chief


Contact: Joyce Masterson, 760-839-4621

The City of Escondido will begin an internal selection process for the position of Police Chief starting in mid-July.  The selection process will include an assessment center which is a series of exercises in which each participant is given an opportunity to demonstrate his skills to a group of experienced observers who carefully monitor the candidates’ responses. It is anticipated the process will be completed by early August, with an announcement made shortly thereafter. 

The City’s three Police Captains, Robert Benton, Craig Carter and Michael Loarie are the only candidates under consideration.  

Until the new Police Chief is selected, responsibility for the daily operations of the Police Department will be handled by Captain Benton.



City Manager's Statement

Contact: Clay Phillips (760) 839-4631

Escondido City Manager Clay Phillips has issued the following statement in response to recent media accounts of police personnel matters:

“The City of Escondido has a zero tolerance policy towards racial comments in the workplace. As the City Manager, I am responsible for assuring that any concerns that City policy has been violated are promptly and thoroughly addressed in an unbiased and independent manner.

In light of recent emails, Facebook postings, or newspaper articles, I believe it is important to publicly state my highest admiration and confidence in all of the members of our Police Department. This includes our Command staff, all of whom are providing outstanding and capable leadership for the Department.”


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