John T. Griffith 5:14 p.m., May 22
Councilmember David Alvarez Says Community-Benefit Districts Will Help Galvanize Barrio Logan
Barrio Logan will be the new Little Italy, at least that's what some developers and others in the building industry hope will happen once new housing and retail centers are erected. To further enhance the area, some developers residents and business owners, want to create Community Benefit Districts.
District 8 representative David Alvarez is one of those people who support bringing assessment districts to Barrio Logan. Alvarez and his staff have pitched the idea to business owners and residents. He believes that aside from removing graffiti and litter and cleaning sidewalks they will help "galvanize the community around a common purpose."
"We want to be able to provide services that the City doesn't provide," said Alvarez during a recent phone interview. "I see it as a good opportunity so from the beginning I've been talking to business owners and residents about the idea of a Community Benefit District."
"The history of Barrio Logan is there but outside Chicano Park and its murals the story isn't told. So as the community gets larger and businesses move in, it would be great to bring that culture and help tell the story of Barrio Logan."
Alvarez dismissed claims that only a select group of residents and business owners received the recent survey looking into bringing an assessment district to Barrio Logan. He says the survey was sent to all residents in the area surrounding the Mercado del Barrio project.
"We actually approached Shea Properties and asked them to participate. And, now we're moving forward with it. The process is very open and we don't want any favoritism for any one group, which is why we surveyed everybody. Everyone was notified. We even started a steering committee to see what services residents want.
The results of the survey are being tallied. Alvarez hopes to initiate the balloting process and engineer's report in the coming months. Initial funding will come from a city council account and will be reimbursed once assessments are collected.