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Mid-City CAN Blog

$3.1Mil Grant For Community Center By Skate Park

Once an important part of the City Heights neighborhood, the old Copley YMCA currently sits run-down and abandoned. Now, a 3.1 million dollar grant promises to turn it back into a thriving center for the community once again. Mayor Kevin Faulconer gathered with city officials behind the vacant building August 3 to announce renovations the grant money will be used for.

“We’re making sure that every single San Diego family has the opportunity to succeed. This building belongs to the public and we want you and all of our neighbors, the community, to be able to use it again,” said Mayor Falconer.

Erick Hernandez, Mid-City CAN Youth Council Member, speaks at press conference announcing new grant

The Mayor encouraged Mid-City CAN resident teams who worked hard to advocate for a skate park on the same lot. He thanked them for their efforts, which lead to the idea of investing into the community, creating a safe space for people to spend their time.

“I want to thank the very dedicated community leaders and staff at Mid-City CAN who continue to keep this community moving forward,” said Mayor Faulconer.

The skate park campaign was community-lead, with youth advocating for their needs and the needs of their community. Last year, a 4.5 million dollar grant was allocated for two skate parks, one in Linda Vista, and the other behind the old YMCA building.

“Since I took office in District 9, I’ve had visits from kids with skateboards under their arms saying ‘it’s about time.’ Now, not only will young people have a place to skate that’s safe and fun, we’ll have improvements here at the YMCA with a history of service to the community,” said Marti Emerald, D-9 City Councilmember. “It’s been a long time coming but the day has arrived.”

The new funding comes from the state Department of Housing and Community Development. The idea is to add the recreational center together with the skate park at the site, creating a full community center at Park De La Cruz on Landis Street.

“To see that youth had a voice not only within the city but to make decision making as well means a lot that we can connect to adults,” said Terry Stanley, Mid-City CAN Youth Organizer.

Current and former youth council members honored for their work on the skate park

The old building still has a lot of work to be done in order to bring it up to code, including rooting out an asbestos infestation. The mayor’s office plans to begin construction in the next couple of months. While portions of the center will be opened to the public this fall, the renovation project will last about two years.

“Hopefully with this 3.1 million that we get it helps create more youth opportunities and ways to help out our youth and improve our community,” said Erick Hernandez, Mid-City CAN Youth Council Member.

City Parks and Recreation Director Herman Parker said once the construction is complete, the gymnasium will reopen for public use, focusing on recreational opportunities for seniors, veterans and people with disabilities.

“What we’re really learning today is that when you participate and you engage then things like this happen,” said Diana Ross, Executive Director of Mid-City CAN.

Mayor Faulconer thanks Mid-City CAN Youth Council

Huge Victory for Youth Bus Passes

City Heights’ youth who fought hard to keep their free bus passes won a huge victory this week. At the San Diego Unified School District board meeting on July 28, Mid-City CAN’s Youth Opportunity Bus Program was officially included in the district’s budget for the upcoming 2015-2016 school year.

The board voted to, “Support Mid-City CAN's continued advocacy in state and local level policy changes that call for making public transit available at no cost for youth.”

Kyla Archeta, recent Crawford graduate, speaks before SDUSD board in June
 
The school board approved the continuation of bus passes to students who received them during the previous school year at the four schools participating in the program: Lincoln, Hoover, Crawford and San Diego High Schools.
 
Tuesday’s decision calls for an amendment in the school district’s existing agreement with Metropolitan Transit System in order to purchase passes for students October 2015 through June 2016.
 
The board will once again need to approve these recommendations in fall of 2015. Members will vote to authorize SDUSD to participate in a study on transit equity, which will be conducted by Strategic Community Consulting, UCSD School of International Relations and Pacific Studies, endorsed by The California Endowment. The data from attendance and measured achievement will be provided by SDUSD, in order to measure the success of the bus passes on the lives of the youth involved.
 
“I honestly don’t know what I’d do without a bus pass. It helped me get home late after club sports, which I couldn’t be a part of if I didn’t have a way to get around.” Armando Estrada, Junior at Crawford High School.

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