A year of progress

Posted: January 1st, 2016 | Columnists, Downtown Partnership News, Featured | 2 Comments

By Kris Michell | Downtown Partnership News

2015 was a highly productive year for the Downtown San Diego Partnership (DSDP) and our Downtown.

Each day of the year, the DSDP worked hard to deliver on our agenda to make Downtown a world-class destination and community for all.

Kris Michell, President and CEO of SDDP

Kris Michell, President and CEO of SDDP

Whether it was keeping our streets and neighborhoods clean, safe and beautiful, advocating for programs to effectively address homelessness, or growing our innovation economy, all of our efforts were strategically designed to deliver on key goals in “Imagine Downtown,” our 20-year plan for Downtown San Diego.

Here is a brief overview of our achievements in 2015:

Clean & Safe: Downtown’s Property and Business Improvement District, commonly referred to as Clean & Safe, is the backbone of the Downtown Partnership’s effort to create a world-class Downtown. Day in and day out — 24 hours a day — Clean & Safe is working for Downtown, emptying trash cans, conducting homeless outreach, providing security services and working on beautification projects.

Because of Clean & Safe’s integral role in keeping Downtown clean, safe and beautiful, renewing the program was our top priority. Here is a recap of this effort:

  • Successfully renewed Clean & Safe with 82.6 percent support from Downtown property owners and unanimous support from the San Diego City Council.
  • Developed and implemented a Commercial Enhancement Program for fiscal year 2016.
  • Installed more than 250 additional tree lights in the Core, Columbia and East Village neighborhoods. More than 1,100 lights now decorate Downtown’s trees.
  • Developed an enhanced sidewalk repair program to keep Downtown looking its best.
  • Expanded the beautification and placemaking program by hiring a full-time Placemaking Manager.

Homelessness efforts: Addressing homelessness in a comprehensive and compassionate manner is key to creating a thriving Downtown. Over the last year, the Partnership has taken a lead role in advocating for programs that effectively address homelessness. These efforts included:

  • Purchased a “detox bed” at McAllister Institute of San Diego to be used in partnership with the SDPD’s Homeless Outreach Team. In 2015, 15 individuals received life-saving detox services.
  • Doubled our number of available triage beds to 50. In 2015, the beds assisted more than 320 individuals.
  • Reunited 322 homeless individuals with family through the Work Your Way Home program, bringing the total number of those helped to 766.
  • Successfully launched the three-hour Unattended Property Program in coordination with the City of San Diego, the Girls Think Tank and the San Diego Housing Commission.
  • Successfully launched the San Diego Meal Service Program in coordination with Cox Communications, Father Joe’s Villages, The Rock Church and Loving Spoonfuls.

Economic Development: At the DSDP, we are always willing to advocate for increased business development and opportunities for all Downtown businesses. The Partnership is an economic development organization at its core, and to further our central mission, we achieved the following:

  • Helped Downtown tech and startup companies recruit new, quality talent through direct links to UC San Diego Computer Science and Engineering departments.
  • Removed barriers for Downtown tech startups through a targeted strategic plan for the Downtown tech startup ecosystem.
  • Worked toward the attraction of a high-profile university to Downtown, by creating a coalition of representatives from key local universities.
  • Acted as a lead advocate for the creation and launch of Downtown’s first, real-time parking app to address the common misconception that Downtown has limited parking.

Civic Projects: For Downtown San Diego to compete on the global stage, it must have iconic, world-class structures and spaces. Here is how the Partnership worked to advance this goal in 2015:

  • Continued to support and champion the expansion of the Convention Center.
  • Continued to support and champion Civic San Diego.
  • Lobbied the city of San Diego and key stakeholders to promote the importance of moving forward with the development of Seventh Avenue and Market Street, to attract a luxury hotel, retails and an organic grocer.
  • Advocated for SANDAG Forward — the 2050 Regional Transportation Plan — to ensure that Downtown remains a transportation hub and employment center for the region.

While this past year was tremendously successful for our organization, we know that there is more work to be done.

Of course, the Partnership will continue to focus on what matters to Downtown residents and businesses in the New Year: programs that keep Downtown clean, safe and beautiful, efforts to effectively address homelessness, initiatives to grow our economy and champion civic projects.

I hope you will join us as we continue to deliver a Downtown like no other.

Clean & Safe neighborhood meetings
We’re hitting the ground running and hope you will to join us! In January 2016, Clean & Safe is hosting neighborhood meetings in each of Downtown’s seven neighborhoods to give property owners an opportunity to learn what enhancement programs and services they can expect to see in the new year. Visit for meeting dates, times and locations.

—Kris Michell is the president and CEO of the Downtown San Diego Partnership, the organization that oversees the Clean & Safe program and also works toward creating a world-class Downtown. For more information, visit or call 619-234-0201.


  1. Jeff says:

    It is clear you do not travel down C street! Your lights in the trees are used to charge the transient’s cell phones and light their camps, urine and feces is everywhere including the only walkway past the courthouse construction, and the aggressive transients are constantly a threat. It is even sadder that walking is safer than the Trolley alternative as there is NO security and you are trapped.

    But hey- SDPD does a great job ticketing the office workers jaywalking to lunch.

  2. The Chargers announced today that they submitted nearly 110,800 signatures in support of its downtown stadium and convention center annex plan to the city of San Diego.

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