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Club walks the walk

Mayberry group takes one last stroll around Costa Mesa, getting a street-level view of the needs of the city.

December 31, 2013|By Bradley Zint
  • Mayor Pro Tem Steve Mensinger, foreground center, and a dozen other participants stroll through Gisler Park in Costa Mesa on New Year's Eve. The group completed a 5.38-mile walk that started at the Diego Sepulveda Adobe in Estancia Park and ended at Plaza Tower, near South Coast Plaza.
Mayor Pro Tem Steve Mensinger, foreground center, and… (KEVIN CHANG / Daily…)

In their last official walk together, the Costa Mayberry Walking Club made it a ceremonial event on New Year's Eve.

They began their brisk, 5.38-mile walk in the afternoon from one of the Costa Mesa's oldest and coziest structures, the Diego Sepulveda Adobe in Estancia Park, to one of the city's newest and most gleaming, the 21-story Plaza Tower across from South Coast Plaza.

The group, led by Mayor Pro Tem Steve Mensinger, has been walking regularly for about a year, generally meeting before the sun rises — around 5:30 a.m. They got the name Costa Mayberry from the fictional 1960s town of Mayberry depicted in "The Andy Griffith Show."

The members will still walk, though. Tuesday marked the completion of their walking all the city's streets, during which they get a close-up look at what's right and what needs work in Costa Mesa. Mensinger said they may try something new in the future, like a sports club or "an old guys basketball team."

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About a dozen of the walkers converged in front of the adobe around 1 p.m. Tuesday, most donning their Costa Mayberry hats and T-shirts. Mensinger told the group, before that day's walk, that they had traveled 664 miles of Costa Mesa streets. An estimated 54 people have participated through the months, he said.

He then asked Mayberry regular Lee Ramos, a 2014 council candidate, for a history of the adobe. Ramos, 70 and a lifetime resident of Costa Mesa, described how the house was built in the early 1800s and later restored by a community eager to find and savor its roots.

"You were here when it was built, right Lee?" chided Mayor Jim Righeimer, who has met with the group about 10 times.

The group then headed north along Mesa Verde Drive West. Chris Cox, who owns a Pipeline Promotions, a Costa Mesa-based marketing firm, was among them.

The Costa Mesa resident met Mensinger about nine years ago. Like Mensinger, Cox is involved in youth sports. He coaches football at Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa. It was his first Mayberry walk and his first visit to the historic adobe.

"I just wanted to take a walk with Steve," he said. "I had the day off of work, so I wanted to come out and support what they've been doing."

A few minutes later, the group made a left onto Country Club Drive. Righeimer, Ramos and Planning Commissioner Tim Sesler were leading the way. A few others, including Mike Bargas, Estancia High football coach and Mayberry regular, stayed in the back of the group, which had spread out.

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