August 23, 2002


Downtown San Ysidro Project Given a Second Chance

After four years of planning, Friends of the Library, in San Ysidro, thought they had a done deal to have a beautiful central library built, only to see the plan hijacked by Councilman Ralph Inzunza Jr., and Sam Marasco of the Las Americas plaza earlier this year. Despite pleas by the community and a show of support for a downtown library, Inzunza forged ahead with a new plan, which he hatched over a couple of months, to locate the library within the Las Americas shopping center, for which he won San Diego city council approval.

Residents of San Ysidro were outraged. After years of planning and thousands of dollars spent the community felt betrayed for the sake of political expediency. The assumption then was that was it, they were out of hope, their dream shattered. The library, it appeared, would be located in the middle of a shopping mall, far from the center of the community and schools, amongst stores, and adjacent to a hazardous street crossing.

But thanks to the California State Library Board, which denied the grant for $9.5 million to help fund the library this week, San Ysidro residents have been granted a window of opportunity to see their dream fulfilled. But they need to act quickly and decisively to regenerate support for the original plan. And they need to revisit the issue with Councilman Inzunza, who has already expressed an interest in reviewing the plan and reconsider the site location.

A well-designed library speaks to the soul of a community. It becomes the center of town, and the pride of the community. It should be a place where children can safely get to and parents can feel comfortable leaving them there. The original plan for a 25,000 square-foot library on the San Ysidro School District lands fills this need. Now it is up to the community to move forward on this plan, second chances don’t come along often!

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