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Birney Elementary School Joint Use

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The Joint Use Willie Serrano Field at Birney Elementary School in University Heights opened on January 28, 2011!

Background

On February 26, 2010, I was thrilled to break ground on the improvements to the field, which includes a 1.6 acre irrigated turf multipurpose field, a .25 acre perimeter walkway, fencing and an accessible pathway into the field from the corner of Meade Avenue and Park Boulevard.

To address our park shortage in University Heights, community members and representatives from San Diego City Schools and the City of San Diego creatively developed a plan to use the grounds of Birney Elementary School as a public park in non-school hours. This joint use model has been successfully implemented at sites throughout the City, adding acres of public park land and improving school facilities.

Along with the community of University Heights, I have been eagerly awaiting the proposed improvements to Birney Elementary. When I found out shortly after taking office that additional funding was necessary to provide the amenities desired by the community, I immediately investigated new funding sources so the City's promise of a park would be fulfilled.

The Birney Elementary Joint Use Field took a giant step closer to construction when, on October 5, my San Diego City Council colleagues unanimously supported my motion to approve the project. A combination of the Uptown Community Planning Area's Development Impact Fees and State Proposition 40 grants complete the full funding necessary for the City to move forward with construction. In light of the City’s current financial challenges, it is important to note that these funds were allocated responsibly and could not have been used for general City purposes.

I have made clear to Mayor Jerry Sanders that this is a priority project for the neighborhood and for Council District Three, and I am grateful that staffing and maintenance of the Birney Elementary joint use field is funded in the City’s FY 2010 budget.