Last night more than 100 residents, community partners, and Jacobs Center staff gathered in the auditorium at St. Rita’s Catholic School for the second in a series of Town Hall meetings dedicated to the revitalization of the Southeastern San Diego’s Diamond Neighborhoods. This Town Hall meeting focused on redevelopment projects, primarily infrastructure improvements that will create the foundation to transform the community into a vibrant town center.
The evening started with a lively performance by Souljahz Ministry, a local Samoan youth dance troupe that got the crowd involved and ready to participate and a wonderful welcome form local resident and member of our Redevelopment Community Working Group Keryna Johnson.
Jacobs Center Vice President of Economic Development, Stephen Maduli-Williams updated residents on recent and upcoming projects that will restore the natural and built environment. Hazard Construction was announced as the general contractor for the Chollas Creek Restoration Project which will start construction later this summer. This project includes re-planting native pants, removing invasive plant species, and preventing erosion to create a space where residents can gather and enjoy the outdoors. A pedestrian bridge will also be added providing a safer pathway for students attending Horton Elementary School. Also coming soon is a new look for the decade old Market Creek Plaza. The bustling retail center will be refreshed and reinvigorated with a newly painted exterior, a restriped and resurfaced parking lot, and the addition of landscaping. Additionally, at the end of July our artistic powerhouse Writerz Blok will be moving to a new temporary space in Festival Park next to the Market Creek Amphitheater, behind Food 4 Less to make space for more developments in the Market Street and Euclid Avenue area. Writerz Blok will continue to offer urban art programs and pathways to creative careers for local youth in their temporary home.
Residents were specifically asked for their feedback on several projects and plans that will make the Diamond Neighborhoods more walkable and bike-friendly. Among these projects is the creation of a Community Facilities District to proactively address necessary infrastructure upgrades in the Market Street and Euclid Avenue area. The Jacobs Center is partnering with the City of San Diego on this special financing district that will help increase property values and encourage future investments in the area. The Jacobs Center’s draft Community Economic Opportunity Plan was also available for public review and comment. This plan will help ensure that investments in the Diamond are maximized to enhance the quality of life for all residents. The goal for the final plan is create a community with a stronger, more equitable economy. The draft plan is also available for review and comment online until mid-July.
Additionally, residents were asked to choose their preference for a new color palette for the exterior of Market Creek Plaza and a name for the Trolley Residential multi-family apartments set to break ground soon. They also had a say in whether or not a movie theater would be a good addition to the community.
The results of the Jacobs Center’s Redevelopment Survey that concluded last month were also shared at last night’s Town Hall. The survey asked what restaurants, retailers, and services residents would like in their community. The survey listed options of businesses that are growing and asked residents for their ideas. The top choices in each category were:
Full Service Restaurant: BJ’s Brewhouse, California Pizza Kitchen, and Islands
Casual Dining Restaurant: Phil’s BBQ, Denny’s, and Buffalo Wild Wings
Fast Casual Restaurant: Wings N’ Things or Wing Stop, Pick Up Stix, and Nektar Juice Bar
Retailers: Petco, Sally Beauty Supply, and AutoZone
Service: A Credit Union, Planet Fitness, Supercuts, and Massage Envy
Moving forward, the Jacobs Center will explore these options and see which are compatible with the local market in the Diamond. Having a strong anchor business in place will also help to encourage local businesses to come to the community. A desire for more local businesses was also expressed in the survey feedback.
Our Town Hall series will continue next year. In the meantime you can see more photos from the second Town Hall on our Facebook page and see what people had to say on social media and share your thoughts using the hashtag #JacobsTownHall.