Image of San Diego City of Villages plan from reinventingthegeneralplan.org
  • Image of San Diego City of Villages plan from reinventingthegeneralplan.org
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Enthusiastic Talmadge residents gathered to brainstorm how they envision their community’s future neighborhood-serving business district. Residents have yearned for decades to create a village core similar to that of Kensington, South Park, and University Heights. This is the first step in making their “village” a reality.

The April 16 “Walk and Shop” research workshop at Franklin Elementary School was led by Jim Bliesner, director of the Center of Urban Economics and Design at UCSD, working with graduate students from Woodbury College of Architecture.

Assisting Bliesner was economic development manager Cynthia Fargo of the City Heights Development Corporation. Fargo prompted participants “to think outside the bubble, be creative, and ignore the rules.” And they did.

Talmadge’s proposed village core is Euclid Avenue and 47th Street, extending from El Cajon Boulevard to the south to Monroe Avenue to the north. Residents are beginning at “ground zero” to build their village, to transform existing buildings into mixed-use businesses and a park.

Participants were asked to identify infrastructure improvements and to envision what types of businesses would encourage them to walk or bike to their new downtown center. By the end of the evening, the residents’ wish list identified improvements to “Main Street Euclid,” to include a landmark community sign, a park, widened sidewalks, fountains, plazas, coffee shop/café, gym, restaurants, dry-cleaner, community/cultural center, charter school, and much more.

Participants will return to Franklin Elementary on April 30 to view the results compiled by the Woodbury College architectural students.

The concept of a “City of Villages” was unanimously supported by the the San Diego City Council in 2002. Five communities served as pilot projects and all have been successful. North Park in Mid-City is an example.

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