About 250 people jammed Sherman Library & Gardens on Wednesday evening for the Corona del Mar Annual Town Meeting, which included time to socialize, learn more about civic issues as well as hear updates and a speech from Mayor Nancy Gardner.
The evening also celebrated the Corona del Mar Residents Assn.'s 25th anniversary. The CdMRA and Corona del Mar Business Improvement District co-hosted the event.
"My great dream is this meeting right here," said Debbie Allen, who was the group's first president. "This would not have happened 25 years ago. This is just amazing."
Allen told the standing-room only crowd that in the mid-1980s, Corona del Mar was a divided community with no leverage in City Hall. Then-Councilman Phil Sansone formed the CdMRA, and soon the city began to respond to the village's needs, repaving alleys, fixing pot holes and more.
Gardner played a game with the crowd, asking for a show of hands for those who could remember longtime businesses and landmarks — The Original Snack Bar where Ruby's now stands, Burger Island with 19-cent burgers where Gallo's Italian Deli now is.