Extra city budget revenue reserved for neighborhood improvements

The neighborhood of City Heights has been trying to get the rundown lot on Wightman Street improved for more than a decade. But their concerns fell on deaf ears, as the economic downturn and political distractions consumed City Hall.

“Yes,” confirmed Faulconer, “Wightman Neighborhood Park will finally be built.”

With basketball courts, play equipment, picnic tables, barbecues and a lighted walkway. And along the way, City Hall is restoring confidence and building good will.

“Very happy today to see our Mayor here,” said resident Abdullahi Yusuf. “First time I see (the mayor) in City Heights, I’m living here 19 years.”

“Many of the people who live here struggle and have very little to celebrate, but today they can celebrate,” said City Heights Councilmember Marti Emerald.

Faulconer and Emerald came to City Heights to say the city’s neighborhoods will no longer be neglected. The mayor’s revised budget includes a windfall of $12 million coming from unexpected increases in property and TOT taxes.

“We’ll install more street lights, so our neighborhoods are bright, and safe. We will build more parks for our families, and give firefighters and life guards more resources to keep us safe,” said Faulconer.

“It does say something about where the city is going,” declared Emerald. “And the Mayor put it so well: we have all kinds of places in the city that aren’t blight. They are opportunities waiting for us to dig in.”

“It’s going to be a beautiful, beautiful gift to the neighborhood,” said Linda Pennington of San Diego Canyonlands.

Pennington focuses on the City Heights area.

“The neighbors are very enthusiastic. And when you have that kind of community involvement, then things start to happen, so I’m feeling really good about this whole package.”

There’s a lot more to be done, and some of the folks of City Heights are not shy about what else is needed.

“This City Heights, all the streets, some of the streets, can’t drive the cars, not safe, so we need to fix it,” said resident Aden Daud.

The plan is to revitalize low-income areas of the city to create economic opportunity districts that will eventually draw development and public transit. The upward trend in property and TOT taxes says San Diego’s economy is improving, and the mayor has pledged that half of all new revenue will be reinvested in the city’s neighborhoods.

Categories: KUSI