If you’ve grabbed a bite to eat recently on Valencia Street and were in awe of the beautiful string lights strung building to building, making your dining experience a little more joyful, you can thank Manny Yekutiel, Tyler MacNiven and The Valencia Corridor Merchants Association. The small business owners started a GoFundMe to celebrate the beginning of healthier and happier times ahead as warm weather and mass vaccinations are on the horizon.
The lights symbolize the resilient spirit of the small businesses that persevered through the COVID-19 pandemic. The GoFundMe page called “Help Light Up Valencia Street!” requested donations in creative increments, like the socially distanced party of eight lightbulbs spread six feet apart for $71. They quickly exceeded their target goal, raising enough money for the lights to be strung along a ten-block stretch from 14th to 24th Streets.
RentSFNow contributed to this fundraising effort to help build community among the hundreds of residents it serves in the Mission neighborhood. Its parent company, Veritas, and property management sister company, GreenTree, also donated funds to support its retailers and build community.
Smitten Ice Cream representative Jay, a commercial resident at GreenTree’s 904 Valencia building, feels the positive impact of this community initiative. “It is so inspiring to see our community coming together and making this project happen! The lights not only bring a much-needed boost to foot traffic again but a great reminder of our vibrant and resilient spirit. Better days are coming and Valencia Street is so ready to welcome everybody back!”
A lighting ceremony was held to commemorate the lights being lit for the first time on May 7th. The ceremony consisted of a few speeches, refreshments, and a musical procession along the newly illuminated street. The lights will continue brightening up Valencia Street every evening for the next few months so be sure to stop by and soak in the ambiance this summer.