2019 Annual Report

About the City Heights Business Association

The City Heights Business Association is a nonprofit organization created in 2003 to enhance the growth and improvement of City Heights as an international marketplace. Our goal is to create partnerships between businesses and property owners that promote economic revitalization and combat deterioration in the community.

Clean & Safe Program

The Clean & Safe Program is a service provided by the City Heights Business Association within the City Heights Maintenance Assessment District. The program provides maintenance and security services along University Avenue from Interstate 805 to 50th Street and segments of 37th Street, Central Avenue, 43rd Street, and Fairmount Avenue.

2019 was a big year for our Clean & Safe program! Read about our highlights below.

Trash bags
Trash bags collected
bulky items
Buky items removed
pressure washing
Pressure-washed square feet
graffiti removal
Square feet of graffiti removed

We brought our maintenance services in-house

In late 2019 we transitioned away from working with a contracted organization and hired two new in-house staff members to handle the maintenance work of the Clean and Safe Program. Managing these services ourselves provides us with increased flexibility and allows us to respond more quickly to maintenance needs in the district. Additional benefits of this new approach include: 

  • Capacity to provide services 5 days a week, 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week. We are no longer limited by the availability of our contracted service provider. 
  • Greater connection to the City Heights community. Having our own staff working out in the community helps us to build trust with residents and business owners, and gain insight to better address the needs of the community. 
  • Ability to hire staff from within the City Heights community. Currently, two of our maintenance crew members live in City Heights.
City Heights Business Association In-House Clean & Safe Staff at work cleaning up graffiti
City Heights Transit Plaza Entrance

I-15 bridge deck now maintained by the City of San Diego

When the l-15 Bridge Deck was completed 15 years ago, no city department ever took responsibility for maintenance. Over the years, the CHBA has graciously provided maintenance to this area, while working with the city to clarify which department would be responsible for permanently overseeing the care and upkeep of the space.

Finally this year, in collaboration with the office of City Councilmember Georgette Gomez, the CHBA received commitment from the city that the Department of Parks and Recreation would take over maintenance. They are now providing all sweeping, power washing, and general maintenance on bridge deck, so that the CHBA can focus time and resources elsewhere.

Safely lit streets with SDG&E's Dusk-to-Dawn program

The SDG&E Dusk to Dawn program installs additional street lights in poorly lit parts of the city in order to improve resident safety and deter crime. To qualify for the program, lighting must be installed on a pole that can handle the additional energy, and you must be willing to pay for the additional electricity costs. The CHBA has been working with SDG&E over the last two years to apply for additional lighting in key community locations identified by residents and business owners. After much effort, this year additional lighting was installed in ten locations, making streets and alleys safer and deterring crime and vandalism. 

Alley street light in City Heights installed as part of SDG&E's Dusk-to-Dawn program

Community Advocate Program

The Community Advocate Program is committed to developing and supporting a network of volunteer community leaders who have been trained in addressing neighborhood maintenance and security issues. The goal of the program is to increase the number of issue reports and follow up communications to government agencies to ensure that problems are being addressed, as well as increase the overall civic involvement of residents within the community.

Reports via the Get it Done app
Clean-up projects
community volunteers
Community clean-up volunteers
community leaders
Community Leaders

Reports made via the Get it Done app

  • Graffiti: 2,514
  • Illegal Dumping: 2,394
  • Homeless Encampment: 137
  • Other: 47
  • Tree Hazard: 46
  • Vehicle Violation / Abandonment: 37
  • Traffic Sign: 25
  • Tree Maintenance: 23
  • Sidewalk: 14
  • Dead Animal: 14
  • Pothole: 10
  • Traffic Signal: 6
  • Street Sign: 5
  • Street Flooded: 3
  • Street Light: 3
  • Code Enforcement: 2
  • Street Sweeping: 2
  • Illegal Discharge: 1
  • Storm Drain: 1
  • Quality of Life Issues: 1

Meet Sabina, our Community Advocate

I am a City Heights resident and have lived in this beautiful, diverse community my whole life. Throughout middle and high school, I was involved with many different organizations that focused on helping and bettering City Heights. I attended college at nearby SDSU, and while I was there I was involved with a Labor Union for Hotel/Casino workers, the Community Law Project, a Latina based sorority, and several other on campus organizations. I graduated with a degree in Psychology, Sociology, and Counseling in May 2019 and decided to become a community advocate because I have always enjoyed helping and advocating for people as well as my community. Thus far, I have loved being a resource for residents and community leaders and seeing how my actions have a positive impact in City Heights.

Sabina Villalobos, City Heights Business Association's Community Advocate
CHBA Community Leaders

Meet our Community Leaders

Community Leaders are City Heights residents who are trained to identify, report, and follow up on issues within the community. These volunteers work with Sabina, our Community Advocate, to stay on top of pressing issues and hold city entities accountable for addressing these issues. They meet on a monthly basis to share information and strategies to help improve the community. 

2109 Community Leaders: Juana Bautista, Maria Cortez, Bertha Cruz, Veronica Dominguez, Esperanza Gonzalez, Elsa Mendoza, Graciela Perez, Miriam Rodriguez, Ana Rubio, Elen Vazquez, Claudia Vicente, Carmen Madrigal, Tania Zaldivar.

Homeless Outreach Program enters its second year

To help reduce the negative impacts of homelessness on our community, we worked collaboratively with the City Heights CDC, Councilmember Chris Ward, Councilmember Georgette Gomez, North Park Main Street, Price Philanthropies, and People Assisting the Homeless (PATH) to establish establish a one-year pilot homeless outreach program in North Park and City Heights. The program created a full-time position for an Outreach Specialist to build relationships with homeless persons in the area and subsequently connect them to housing, services, and other supports within the community. After a successful first year in 2019, the program has been renewed

Homeless person asleep on the sidewalk
Rendering of proposed City Heights Community Sign

Community sign in the works

City Heights is one of the only communities in San Diego without a neighborhood sign. This year, an opportunity for a sign was presented through the city’s upcoming sidewalk expansion and round-about construction project. The CHBA worked swiftly to present signage plans to the city and has been approved to install a City Heights neighborhood sign at the intersection of Highland and University once the city’s construction project is complete in 2023. The CHBA is excited to fund such an important project for the community and highlight City Heights as a destination in San Diego. 

Community Events

The City Heights Business Association partners with local organizations to bring programming and events to the community. Through these collaborative offerings, we provide opportunities for businesses and residents to become more involved in the City Heights community, and seek to attract new visitors to our vibrant neighborhood.

National Night Out City Heights

National Night Out

This annual, family-friendly event brings community members together for an evening of outdoor entertainment, while building stronger relationships between residents and law enforcement officials in order to promote safety and well-being within City Heights.

Fern Street Circus Group 2019

Fern Street Circus Neighborhood Tour

During its annual Neighborhood Tour, the Fern Street Circus brings its show on the road to several City Heights and mid-city parks to provide free, all ages entertainment for community members. All shows feature circus and music professionals along with student performers from FSC’s after-school program. This year’s event included a community health fair prior to each show.

Dia De Los Muertos 2019

Dia de los Muertos

The annual City Heights Dia de los Muertos celebration brings together community members and residents from across San Diego for an afternoon of dancing, singing, music, and entertainment to honor and celebrate those who have passed.

Meet our Staff

The City Height Business Association is led by executive director Enrique Gandarilla,  Clean & Safe Ambassador Jose Cervantes, and Community Advocate Sabina Villalobos.