2021 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. Our mission is to provide programs and services that contribute to a clean, safe, and prosperous commercial environment within the City Heights Business Improvement District and City Heights Maintenance Assessment District.

City Heights Clean & Safe team member

Pandemic Response

Throughout 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to strain small businesses and force business owners to think of creative solutions for maintaining their services and client base. We have continued to keep businesses informed about changing policies and loan opportunities, as well as provide support through grant funding and community initiatives. Below we share highlights from two of our most successful pandemic response efforts of 2021.

City Heights Business Relief Fund

The City Heights Business Relief Fund was started in 2020 to provide economic support to businesses that were struggling as a result of the pandemic. In 2021 we have continued to partner with other local agencies to raise and award funds to businesses in need of financial support. Read more about the success of the City Heights Business Relief Fund on our blog.

Gift Certificate Program

Working with the City Heights Economic Development Collaborative, we launched the gift certificate program at the end of 2020 in an effort to support both businesses and residents hurt by the pandemic. The initial pilot program provided 10 City Heights Businesses - mostly markets, small grocers, and delis - with $500 each in exchange for 20 gift certificates. Gift certificates were then distributed to City Heights families in need of additional support. The success of the pilot program resulted in the City Heights Economic Development Collaborative allocating an additional $30,000 for a second round of the program. In the second round, 30 businesses participated, with $1,000 in gift certificates purchased from each business. You can read more about the gift certificate program on our blog and in the news.

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. The program is highlighted by the services below.

  • Daily Sidewalk sweeping
  • Monthly Pressure washing of 37 bus stops
  • Graffiti removal done within 48 hours of being seen or reported
  • Bi-monthly landscaping and weed abatement
  • Bulky item pick up and removal twice per week
  • Emptying of more than 50 trash cans twice per week
  • Bi-weekly restocking of 15 Pet waste bag stations installed by CHBA
  • Bi-monthly emptying of ash trays
  • Pressure-washed entire district (33 blocks)
  • Collected an estimated 3.5 tons of trash
  • Installed 10 new street lights in dark alleyways as part of the SDG&E “Dusk to Dawn" Program
  • Submitted over 1000 reports to the “Get It Done" app
  • Installed over 25 sensor motion solar lights in problematic areas
  • Replaced plants from 15 sidewalk planters
City Heights Business Association Clean & Safe crew members powerwashing the sidewalk on University Ave.
CHBA Clean Up Crew in front of Love City Heights mural
Clean & Safe team member removing trash from street

Co-sponsored Events

With safety measures making it possible to have special events in 2021, we seized the opportunity to jump back into community engagement by co-sponsoring several community events throughout the year.

Outdoor Art Exhibit

The "Characters", open-air art installation took place on an empty lot on the corner of University Avenue and Interstate 15. Sculptures in the installation represented the diversity of people and issues present in City Heights, helped connect residents in the community with local artists, and ultimately brought beauty to an otherwise vacant lot.

National Night Out

As we have done in previous years, we were excited to co-sponsor this year's National Night Out. This year's event included an outdoor movie screening, games, and most importantly, an opportunity for residents and law enforcement officials to connect and strengthen their relationships.

Soul Food Festival

The San Diego Soul Food fest brought together businesses and community members for a fun afternoon of food and entertainment while showcasing many local black-owned eateries.

Music en La Calle

Music en la Calle brought together a diverse group of musical performers for a free afternoon of music, art, and celebration. In addition to music, this family-friendly event featured arts & crafts, books, and food vendors.

Community Initiatives

We collaborate with local agencies on initiatives that support the needs and well-being of the businesses, property owners, customers, and residents in the community. Our goal through these collaborations is to continue making City Heights a cleaner, safer, and more welcoming place for residents and visitors.

Homeless Outreach Program

Our collaboration with People Assisting the Homeless (PATH) continues to yield successful results in the City Heights community. Throughout 2021, PATH specialists have continued to build relationships with homeless persons in the community, and have been able to connect these individuals and families to services, including temporary housing, medical help, and financial assistance. Inspired by the success PATH has had in mid-city neighborhoods like City Heights, the city announced in March that PATH would expand its personal outreach model to include additional San Diego neighborhoods.

Path logo - People Assisting the Homeless

City Heights Community Sign

Work has continued on the City Heights Community Sign project throughout 2021. At this phase in the project we have finalized design plans and are working with the city to ensure that we have all necessary permits to begin construction. Fundraising plans are also underway. Construction on the sign is scheduled to begin in spring of 2022.

I-15 Bridge Deck

With support from the City of San Diego Parks and Recreation department in maintaining the overall cleanliness and safety of the bridge deck, we've been able to invest in beautifying the space over the last year. We planted new trees in the planters along the bridge deck earlier this year and are currently working on plans for a holiday lights display for the upcoming season. We've also established a security presence along the bridge deck which has contributed to making the space safer for residents and commuters.

Meet our Staff

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


Pie chart of City Heights Business Association income for the fiscal year of 2021

2021 fiscal year total income: $503,254

Maintenance Assessment District


Business Improvement District


Small Business Enhancement Program


Grants & Other Income


Pie chart of 2021 fiscal year total expenses for City Heights Business Association

2021 fiscal year expenses: $494,679






Total: $109,522

  • Insurance: $29,719
  • Marketing: $28,670
  • Rent: $16,934
  • Accounting: $13,363
  • Communications: $8,595
  • Audit: $5,000
  • Meetings/Training: $3,323
  • Supplies: $2,774
  • Other: $1,144