By Mary M. McKenzie
At last month’s meeting, Hillcrest Town Council attendees were asked to address their visions for Hillcrest. Several concerns were common in the responses: community beautification, homelessness, safety/mobility, and the right mix of residential and commercial interests. Additionally, individuals also were concerned about energy and water conservation, the role of seniors in Hillcrest, and closer communications with elected officials.
In response to these ideas, the Aug. 8 meeting of the Hillcrest Town Council focused on beautification. Future meetings will address the remaining topics, beginning next month with homelessness.
First, the audience heard from Mark Catrambone, the Hillcrest Business Association’s gardener and caretaker. Catrambone explained that the HBA maintains over 50 trash and recycling cans throughout the neighborhood, which are emptied two to five times weekly, often in the wee hours of the morning. Additionally, the HBA maintains trees, flower baskets, and several sidewalk gardens and planters. These are additional to the services the city provides.
Eddie Rey, founder and CEO of the San Diego LGBT Visitors Center, outlined his efforts to create an LGBT museum, modeled in part after Chicago’s Legacy Walk. The Legacy Walk is an educational walking project commemorating LGBT history and people through a series of bronze plaques. Rey hopes to create a Hillcrest Arts Council to help guide further efforts for beautification in Hillcrest.
The final speaker on beautification was Elizabeth Studebaker, the Neighborhood Investment Manager for the city of San Diego. Studebaker discussed her efforts to make efforts at “place making” easier and less expensive for interested organizations. At its core, place making is about involving the community in the design and management of public spaces.
The HTC overwhelmingly passed a motion by Kath Rogers to take a formal stance in favor of the city’s efforts to streamline the permitting and zoning process for place-making projects that have community support.
The HTC also heard from public representatives in Hillcrest. Jessica Mier from U.S. Rep. Susan A. Davis’ office announced her promotion to deputy district director and introduced Zack Bunshaft as the new representative for Hillcrest. Board member David Vance encouraged the community to participate in the AIDS Walk on Sept. 31.
David Mier from UC San Diego Health invited the community to attend an open house on the redesign of their campus due to new seismic standards. It will take place at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 13 at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 4190 Front St.
Monica Montano from Scripps Mercy announced that its campus, too, will be undergoing reconstruction because of earthquake regulations. She also announced that U.S. News & World Report just voted the combined programs of Scripps Green Hospital and Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla as No. 1 in the San Diego region and were ranked nationally in eight specialties.
Finally, the HTC received two substantial donations. First, on behalf of San Diego Pride, new Executive Director Erik Heinritz presented HTC with $1000 in recognition of HTC’s efforts for Pride and Pride clean-up. Eddie Rey then awarded the HTC $500, donated from the proceeds of the LGBT Visitors Center’s Haunted Hillcrest tour.
HTC welcomes residents to attend the next meeting on Sept. 12 at which City Councilmember Chris Ward will discuss his efforts to fight homelessness. If you have any comments or concerns, contact HTC Chair Kath Rogers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
–Mary M. McKenzie is secretary of Hillcrest Town Council.