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Outrage grows over plans for Pride Plaza

Outrage grows over plans for Pride Plaza

The Hillcrest Business Association (HBA) has recently shared information that the office of Councilmember Chris Ward has been advancing a plan to create a special management district in University Heights and include Hillcrest’s Normal Street in the district. 

This has caused great concern throughout the Hillcrest community as HBA says that this plan would lead to Normal Street being managed by property owners on El Cajon Blvd. For years, Normal Street has served as sort of an “unofficial town square” for Hillcrest, as the wide street is home to the weekly Hillcrest Farmers Market, serves as the kick-off point for major annual events like San Diego Pride and AIDS Walk & Run San Diego, and is the location of the Hillcrest Pride Flag and “Pride Plaza.”

According to the HBA, the proposal for the new neighborhood is expected to move forward in a matter of weeks, and the future Normal Street Promenade, the Pride Flag, and Monument are all included in the proposal. If passed, management responsibility for this area would transfer to this University Heights property management group. These new property owners would manage the Hillcrest Pride Flag and Pride Plaza from their contractor's offices downtown. 

The proposal would include the following elements:

  • It would create a district that would see maintenance and security services for the future Normal Street Promenade controlled by an organization overseen by a majority of University Heights property owners. 

  • The vote to create this district is weighted so the decision to move forward with the district would be made by these same property owners and not Hillcrest People). The vote is weighted toward the large parcels in the north of the map.

  • The district would materially transfer the management of the Normal Street Promenade to this new University Heights entity. 

  • This would include the transfer of management of the Pride Flag, Pride Historical Monument (and future LGBT interpretive panels), and the expanded Pride Plaza to a University Heights property owner group.

  • It provides no funds for the maintenance of the bike lanes being built on University Ave. as the existing MAD would be replaced. It is presumed the cost of this maintenance would be left up to already strugglling to local businesses.

Councilmember Ward’s office has confirmed last week that they are planning on this proposal going forward for review, and many neighborhood residents, business owners, and other stakeholders are greatly concerned about the future of Normal Street. 

A petition has been created for community members to let Councilmember Ward and the City of San Diego know that they do not want Normal Street managed by outsiders. The petition can be viewed and signed here.

Stay tuned for additional information that will be announced in the coming days on other actions that are being planned in protest of this proposal.