By DANIEL MERK-BENITEZ
In what is likely her last visit to the Hillcrest Town Council as our representative, Congresswoman Sara Jacobs shared an update about her recent work at the Capitol. Due to redistricting that takes effect in January, Jacobs will no longer serve the community of Hillcrest. However, she candidly shared that Hillcrest was her favorite neighborhood and she will continue to have a special place in her heart for our community.
Jacobs considers reproductive healthcare access as her most important and urgent work. Following the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, she is working with other members of Congress to codify the right to abortion and protect access to contraception. Jacobs is also working to bring legislation that will safeguard those crossing state lines to access reproductive healthcare.
In what is tangentially related to that fight, Jacobs is bringing forward the My Body, My Data Act that will protect sexual healthcare data and ensure that companies can only retain the information they need for the specific services an individual is seeking. If passed, it will make sure that patient’s data cannot be shared or sold. This came after national concern over whether data fertility and menstruation tracking apps could be used to determine whether someone had an abortion.
Another top priority for the congresswoman is childcare. She was able to secure $4 million in the upcoming year’s budget for improvements and expansion for childcare in San Diego. Half of that allocation will go to bolstering childcare access for San Diego employees, while the other half will be invested in the San Diego Armed Services YMCA.
Jacobs thanked those present at the meeting for volunteering to help make Hillcrest and San Diego a better place. She expressed gratitude for the support she’s received as our representative over the past two years.
The meeting continued with a presentation from Brittany Bailey, Grants Manager for the Mayor’s office, on the Normal Street Promenade. The project, which has been under development for five years is moving in to the final stages of design and is slated to begin construction in the summer of 2023.
The $18 million dollar project is being jointly funded by the city and SANDAG and will redevelop the overly-wide street to include a linear park and pedestrian promenade. In recent design changes, a rainbow bikeway has been added. The southern end near University Avenue will see an expansion of Pride Plaza and allow for a larger space for gatherings and events. The project will also include the planting of dozens of new trees, spaces for sitting, recreational spaces and play structures.
Bailey expects that the construction will last roughly 18 months, with a grand opening slated for the fall of 2024. This project has long been awaited and will finally give Hillcrest a park within its neighborhood borders. The Hillcrest Farmers Market will operate in the expanded promenade space, and new events and community programming will also be added.
The next Hillcrest Town Council meeting will be on Tuesday, Sept. 13 at 6:30 p.m. on Zoom. For more information, visit HillcrestTownCouncil.org.