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City of San Diego seeks public input to preserve Hillcrest’s LGBTQ+ history

City of San Diego seeks public input to preserve Hillcrest’s LGBTQ+ history

As part of a comprehensive effort to preserve the history of the Hillcrest neighborhood and celebrate its unique cultural identity, the City of San Diego is asking the public to help identify significant buildings, sites and structures that memorialize contributions made by members of the LGBTQ+ community. 

The City is in the process of compiling the Hillcrest LGBTQ+ Historic Context Statement, which ties historic events and people to existing places in the community and serves as the first step in the City’s historic preservation strategy for the neighborhood. It will guide the evaluation and historic designation of buildings, structures and sites important to the neighborhood’s LGBTQ+ connection. 

“I’m honored to be the councilmember who represents the Hillcrest neighborhood - the heart of our vibrant, diverse LGBTQ community,” said Council President Pro Tem Stephen Whitburn. “The neighborhood has an incredible history of LGBTQ activism, business and social life, and I look forward to this project that will honor the incredible contributions so many have made over the decades. It is so important to document our history and where we have been as the community moves forward into a new era.” 

Building upon the 2016 Citywide LGBTQ Historic Context Statement, the Hillcrest LGBTQ+ Historic Context Statement identifies historical themes, such as “Social Life” and “LGBTQ+ Business and Commerce,” and the buildings, structures and sites that reflect those themes. Planners are asking the public to review the document, comment on the themes and assist with the identification of people, events and places that may have been missed. Members of the public are encouraged to share their recommendations through an online survey or by submitting written comments to 9485 Aero Drive, M.S. 413, San Diego, CA 92123. 

“Hillcrest’s LGBTQ+ history traces back to the 1960s and is filled with people and places that were influential in paving the way for gay rights. It’s important we preserve and share that legacy with generations to come,” said Mike Hansen, the City’s Planning Director. “We hope to have as many people as possible, including those who are a part of the community and their allies, contribute to this effort.” 

The Hillcrest LGBTQ+ Historic Context Statement will serve as the foundation for four other components of the Historic Preservation Strategy, which include: 

  • Preparation of a Multiple Property Listing (MPL), which will facilitate the designation of LGBTQ+ properties within the community.  
  • Evaluation of the Hillcrest Potential Historic District to determine if it is eligible for designation.  
  • Preparation of design guidelines for the potential Hillcrest Historic District to balance preservation of Hillcrest’s LGBTQ+ history with the continued economic vitality of the community. 
  • Preparation of a LGBTQ+ History and Culture Interpretive Plan to honor and celebrate noteworthy people, events, buildings and sites (both existing and lost) as part of Hillcrest’s LGBTQ+ community. The interpretive plan will be developed in partnership with the LGBTQ+ community and will combine cultural resource history with urban design, park planning and transportation planning. The goal is to create an urban environment that educates the public through way-finding signage and art, among other features. 

The Hillcrest LGBTQ+ Historic Context Statement and associated Historic Preservation Strategy is part of the Hillcrest Focused Plan Amendment (FPA) which will guide the future of Hillcrest’s growth and development. The FPA builds upon the Uptown Community Plan Update and will address place-making, connectivity, housing and the neighborhood’s unique identity to ensure Hillcrest remains a thriving community in the future.  

Staff will continue to collect public feedback throughout the entire process. The survey will be open until Sept. 7, 2021, and the Context Statement is on track to be completed later this year. The City Council is expected to hear the Hillcrest Focused Plan Amendment in 2022.