Chicano Park to be surveyed for possible inclusion as a National Park Service affiliate
The National Park Service (NPS) will undertake a reconnaissance survey to recognize the national significance of Chicano Park and its murals as an affiliated area of the National Park System.
This comes after a hearing on Rep. Juan Vargas (CA-51)’s legislation H.R. 484, the Chicano Park Preservation Act of 2019 in front of the U.S. of House Representative’s Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands hearing on Oct. 29, 2019. The bill would require the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a thorough study of San Diego’s Chicano Park to evaluate its national significance.
At the hearing, NPS expressed their openness to conducting the necessary study through administrative action rather than needing passage of the bill. After the hearing, Vargas sent a follow up letter to the NPS urging them to conduct the necessary study administratively.
“I’m very pleased to learn that the National Park Service will begin their preliminary assessment of Chicano Park early next year. The National Park Service affiliation will help protect the park’s longevity and legacy,” said Vargas.
NPS affiliation would allow Chicano Park to be recognized, preserved, and protected as an American history landmark. The affiliation would also make Chicano Park eligible for technical or financial aid from NPS.
“Chicano Park is our spiritual home and represents a defining moment of victory for the Barrio Logan and Chicano community,” said Vargas.
Chicano Park was created after a group of dedicated residents came together to boycott the construction of a highway patrol station on the site of what is now Chicano Park.
San Diego ranked sixth nationally for climate action
Five years following the adoption of a landmark Climate Action Plan, the City of San Diego has been ranked sixth in the country for reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in a national scientific study by The Brookings Institution.
Examining climate action progress in the 100 largest U.S. cities, the “Pledges and Progress” report provides a thorough analysis of climate policy and actions at the city level, taking into account the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In order to create the ranking, The Brookings Institution looked closely at the most recent GHG inventory and baseline emissions levels for each city.
In San Diego, the comparison was between 2010 and 2017 with a 21 percent reduction. Using more recent data from 2018, the City of San Diego has recorded a 24 percent decrease in GHG emissions since 2010.
The San Diego Food System Alliance seeks community input on Food Vision 2030 Strategies
The San Diego Food System Alliance (SDFSA) invites all San Diego County residents to provide input as they develop the final set of strategies for Food Vision 2030. After a robust community engagement process earlier this summer, SDFSA has developed a short survey for residents to select strategies that are most important to them and their communities. Food Vision 2030 is a bold, 10-year plan and movement to cultivate a healthier, more sustainable, and more just food system in San Diego County. Responses will be used to create a first-of-its-kind roadmap—one that will uplift food workers, allow more equitable access to nutritious food and easily withstand future catastrophic events like the coronavirus pandemic. The survey is open now through Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020) by visiting: www.engage.sdfsa.org.
Taxpayers Association announces winners of 2020 Golden Watchdog & Fleece Awards
The San Diego County Taxpayers Association (SDCTA) hosted its 25th annual Golden Watchdog & Fleece Awards, recognizing the best and worst in local government spending and decision-making in San Diego County. Below are the winners announced during the virtual celebration, which included networking and humorous skits featuring San Diego elected leaders.
Among the winners of the awards was the County of San Diego for doubling down on affordable of San Diego, City of San Diego and partners for launching Shelter to Home to house unsheltered people at the Convention Center and a public-private partnership that assisted police officers buying homes in the City of San Diego as part of a community policing initiative. The City of San Diego was also given a special COVID award for letting restaurants to expand into the streets.
The losers for the night were the Port of San Diego for an unlawful fee for rental cars and the City of San Diego for the 101 Ash Street debacle.
City Council approved sale of Downtown property for affordable housing
The City Council unanimously approved the sale of a piece of City-owned land on Cortez Hill in Downtown to Community HousingWorks, an affordable-housing developer that plans to demolish the existing building and replace it with apartments priced as affordable for low-income residents.
Until this past May, the property, located at 1449 Ninth Ave., was occupied by the Cortez Hill Family Shelter, a 47-unit transitional center for families lacking permanent housing. The three-story building had fallen into severe disrepair, and on May 19, 2020, the City Council declared the land to be “surplus,” paving the way for it to be sold.
“With the sale of this property, the City could potentially be creating more than 100 new homes for families and individuals who would otherwise struggle to find affordable places to live,” said Council President Georgette Gómez. “This is exactly what we should be doing with our surplus land. I look forward to seeing the City do more of this with excess property in the future.”
The sale price at the appraised value of $11,593 takes into account the deed restriction that comes with the property requiring 44 units to continue to be priced as affordable for households earning no more than 30% of area median income (AMI). The new project is expected to consist of between 75 and 110 apartments, including the 44 units that will be deed-restricted as affordable for households earning no more than 30% of AMI. The remainder of the units will be priced as affordable for households earning between 30-80% of AMI.
In her 2017 Housing Action Plan, Council President Gómez stressed the need to amend the City Council’s policy on the disposition of surplus land, known as Council Policy 700-10, so that providing additional affordable housing is a primary consideration. The proposed revisions to Council Policy 700-10 were heard at the City’s Land Use and Housing Committee on Oct. 15, where it passed on a unanimous vote. The proposed changes to Council Policy 700-10 are expected to be heard by the full City Council before the end of 2020.
Orchids & Onions go to local properties
The San Diego Architectural Foundation (SDAF) has announced this year’s architecture and design winners and losers throughout San Diego County at the 2020 Orchids & Onions award ceremony.
The ceremony revealed this year’s Orchids (winners) and Onions (losers) chosen from the 101 nominations received in the categories of architecture, historic preservation, interior design, landscape architecture and miscellaneous.
Orchids & Onions began in 1975 as an educational program to raise public awareness and appreciation for the design and development of built projects that improve the quality of life of San Diegans. Orchids go to projects completed in the past three years and honor excellence in design. Onions go to those that come up short.
Here are some of the architecture and design winners.
- Lousiana won two Orchids – one for Architecture and one for Interior Design
- BLVD North Park Apartments won an Onion for Architecture
- Apartments at 1836 Columbia Street won the Grand Onion for Architecture, as well as the Teen Choice Onion
- Lofts on Laurel won an Onion for Architecture
- The Guild Hotel won an Orchid for Historic Preservation
- Broadstone Makers Quarter Common Areas won an Orchid for Interior Design
Episcopal Community Services CEO announces retirement
Lesslie Keller, CEO of Episcopal Community Services (ECS), has announced her retirement from the agency, effective December 31, 2020. Ms. Keller has been the CEO of ECS since March 2007 when she moved from Chicago to San Diego to help the agency that was struggling financially. Under her leadership, ECS has grown to a $30 million organization serving more than 6,000 people every year.
“I am full of gratitude to have been a part of ECS,” said Ms. Keller. “The chance to serve our community by providing life-changing services to thousands has been the opportunity of a lifetime. I am proud of the work we have done together, and I am filled with optimism about the agency’s future, because I know the talent, dedication and leadership that exist here.”
She added, “In addition to our outstanding staff, ECS is blessed with loyal and generous supporters, volunteers, and dedicated partners. As I plan the next chapter of my life, I am confident that Episcopal Community Services is in a strong position and will continue to exemplify our values of excellence, compassion, and service.”
Under Keller’s stewardship, ECS obtained a new County of San Diego contract to provide substance use disorder treatment services to adults and transition age youth. This enabled the formation of the ECS Central East Regional Recovery Center (CERRC) which has nearly quadrupled in size since its start in 2017. Keller has overseen the expansion of the organization’s Para Las Familias program that provides bilingual behavioral health services to children age five and under in the South Bay. The program has grown from a small office to serving nearly 250 children and their families every year. ECS Head Start remains one of the largest providers of Head Start and Early Head Start services in the South Bay area of San Diego, increasing the number of children served by nearly 25% since 2007 and last year added State Preschool for 128 children
Juniper-Front Community Garden receives grant
The American Society of Landscape Architects, San Diego Chapter (ASLA-SD), has selected Juniper-Front Community Garden to receive its 2021 $5,000 Community Grant to redesign and renovate the garden.
The Juniper-Front Community Garden provides a green-belt in the culturally and economically diverse urban neighborhood of Bankers Hill, located just north of downtown San Diego.
The garden, which will be 40 years old in 2021, is believed to be the oldest community garden in San Diego County. It opened in 1981 through the vision and collaboration of the San Diego Senior Center and the Port of San Diego, and continues today through the Port Authority’s commitment to providing open spaces that benefit the community.
Said Robin Parry, Ph.D., President of the Juniper-Front Community Garden, “We are grateful to the San Diego chapter of ASLA for awarding the grant to our garden and excited to partner with ASLA member Leigh Kyle at Spurlock Landscape Architects. Leigh and the Spurlock team can guide us in using cutting-edge landscape architecture principles to redesign and renovate two garden areas and showcase this project during our 40th-anniversary celebration. This $5,000 grant is crucial seed money in our community garden’s desire to be good neighbors and stewards of the natural environment.”
The two-part renovation plan will enhance the natural environment by creating a sustainable landscape through the use of indigenous plants that require less water are drought-tolerant, and require minimal maintenance.
Highlights of the upgrade plans include renovating the street-side planting areas (those that neighbors interact with the most) into public-education gardens and upgrading a series of tree terraces on the west side of the property that need to be stabilized.
Given its 40-year history in the neighborhood, the garden’s new public education spaces will highlight landscape architecture’s pivotal role in designing sustainable environments and the benefits of using indigenous pollinator plants.
Pollinator plants, essential components of the agricultural growing cycle, will attract bees, butterflies, birds, and other pollinators, ensuring a vibrant, healthy environment for the garden’s year-round crops of vegetables, fruit and flowers.
Public art installation at North Park Gallery
The PGK Dance Project (Peter G. Kalivas, Founding Artistic Director) is pleased to announce that the Company’s 2020 season will continue with PGK Dance For Film – Public Art Installation, a filmed version of Peter Kalivas’ original choreographed work PERSPECTIVES, will play as an installation from Nov. 5-8, 2020 in the front façade windows of the ArtProduce Gallery in North Park San Diego (in partnership with MEDIA ARTS San Diego film production). The ArtProduce Gallery is located at 3139 University Ave., San Diego, CA 92104. For more information, visit thepgkdanceproject.org/upcoming-events.
The sound score will be audible via mounted speakers on the top of the façade. Surrounding the LED screen, the other ArtProduce windows will display fifteen 22″ x 34” images captured by photographers Dena Bloom Meeder and Elwood Nickerson during the PERSPECTIVES creative process.
Finally, Mr. Kalivas and the dancers will be present in person for Meet-&-Greets on Thursday, November 5 and Friday, Nov. 6 from 6-8 p.m., and on Saturday, Nov. 7 and Sunday, Nov. 8 from 2-6 p.m. Sparkling cider and light bites will be served, and there will be a book available for attendees to record their personal reflections about the installation.
Up next, The PGK Dance Project will present live performances of PERSPECTIVES and Ollin on Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020 at 3:30 p.m., as part of Mission Federal Credit Union’s ARTWALK Little Italy. The performance will take place on the corner of Grape and India Streets.