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Discussing the future of East Village

Posted: April 7th, 2017 | Columnists, East Village News, Featured, Politics | No Comments

By Joan Wojcik

Christopher Ward assumed the office of Councilmember in January 2017 as the representative of the 3rd District of San Diego. Within the 3rd District is East Village, an area of approximately 130 blocks.

East Village comprises 40 percent of Downtown. Councilmember Ward feels privileged and honored to be the representative who will have an influence on the final phase of development of Downtown’s largest district. His background in urban planning will be an asset for the final development of East Village.

District 3 City Councilmember Chris Ward (Courtesy CrowdPAC.com)

After he received his bachelor’s in neural science from Johns Hopkins University, Ward traveled to San Diego to do research work at UCSD. While living in San Diego, he became an active volunteer for several local campaigns.

That’s when the political bug bit Ward, resulting in changing the direction of his profession from medicine to politics. Receiving his master’s in Public Policy/Urban Planning from Harvard University, he returned to San Diego and utilized his Urban Planning degree as an environmental planner with the firm EDAW.

He developed land-use plans for local government, which included environmental reviews on land use and resolving neighborhood long-term planning goals for land development. A short time later, Ward started his political career by working for State Assemblymember Marty Block as his chief of staff.

With Councilmember Ward’s background in urban planning, he is in a very unique position to guide East Village through its final stages of redevelopment. He strongly supports the immediate completion of the East Village Green Phase I. “Parks are a vital amenity for a community’s success,” Ward said.

He will also work toward the completion of the entire East Village project, Phase I-III, as quickly as possible to attract families into East Village.

Other short term plans for East Village include Councilman Ward’s support of Makers Quarter’s planned development and endorsing the general plans for southeast East Village as outlined by architect Rob Quigley; especially the use of open spaces.

He is an advocate for high tech companies locating to East Village, and promoting the expansion of the UCSD facilities or other higher education institutions into East Village, while also promoting small startup businesses, which are essential for a successful neighborhood.

He will reach out to the community for feedback before he commits to locating any sports or concert venues into the community. Councilman Ward’s long-term plans for East Village include the cultivating of existing and future emerging markets.

In addition to encouraging businesses to move into East Village and establishing local parks, Ward believes the missing piece to the ultimate success of East Village will be housing.

Affordable housing will be needed for the young professionals and young families who will be filling the numerous jobs created by these new business and academic facilities. He would, therefore, like to encourage the development of affordable housing in the range of $300,000 to $500,000 specifically for this work-based population.

The final landscape has yet to be determined in East Village but Chris Ward is excited to contribute his insight and background in urban planning to create a world-class community in San Diego’s largest district — East Village.

“East Village is a unique opportunity to bring together so many of the elements we want for the future of our urban communities. The vision that is coming together and being put into action to truly build out a neighborhood where people can live, work, shop, learn, and play with access to open space, transit, and basic services and amenities is an exciting chance to prove a model for throughout the region. I can’t wait to work closely with community leaders to make sure everyone from diverse backgrounds and with diverse interests and incomes can come together to help create San Diego’s dynamic future,” Ward said.

— Joan Wojcik is the president of the East Village Residents Group. Contact Joan at eastvillageresidentsgroup@yahoo.com or visit evrgsd.org.  

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