Manzanita Canyon Gathering Place Completes Community Build

Press Release from The San Diego Foundation
November 7, 2013 – San Diego, CA — The San Diego Foundation’s Malin Burnham San Diego Center for Civic Engagement and partners held a Community Build at Manzanita Gathering Place Project in a clean-up project in City Heights. The project, located at Manzanita Canyon, 4300 Thorn Street, San Diego, CA 92105, brought together hundreds of people who dedicated dozens of hours during a four-day build to help transform the blighted land into a community gathering space.

Volunteers for the project included program partners Arts/A Reason to Survive and Pomegranate Center, along with project partners Malin Burnham San Diego Center for Civic Engagement, Community Housing Works, Carey Construction and Design, CM Emerald, Rokenbok Educational Foundation, and San Diego Canyonlands, will come together for a Community Build on the Manzanita Gathering Place property.

Bob Kelly, President and CEO of The San Diego Foundation, stated that the Manzanita Canyon Gathering Place is part of an ongoing effort in San Diego County to restore and expand access to outdoor space that is otherwise considered a blight on the community. Manzanita Canyon is the second of the project’s two community-build demonstrations in San Diego County neighborhoods in 2013. The first was the Butterfly Park Gathering Place improvement completed in April 2013 that included planting of greenery and the creation of a public performance space complete with amphitheater-style seating, Volunteers also installed mosaic tile patterns on bench seating, tables and stairways.

Kelly noted that the projects began with seed money from donor Paul Eichen.

“With his support,” said Kelly, “We’ve been able to launch these community betterment project,” The total cost for the two projects is about $250,000, split down the middle.

“It’s all about civic engagement,” Kelly said. “The community is coming together to transform the space into something that’s vibrant and attractive.”

Pomegranate Center Executive Director Milenko Matanovic stated that its mission is to prepare communities through training and mentoring programs to do this kind of work.

“When we create opportunities for people to be at their best together, extraordinary things happen,” Matanovic said. “Our model, what we want to share with municipalities and cities throughout the country, is that this should be part of the menu of their community. We create an excuse for their participation and what’s left behind is a gathering place.”

Marti Emerald, councilperson for the City Heights area said. “This is a prime example of a project that instills a sense of pride in residents to take ownership of something they helped create.”

A Joyful Noise celebration commemorated completion of the project with a community drum/sound parade that travelled across the canyon and nearby streets, calling all comers to join in welcoming the opening of Manzanita Gathering Place.


About The San Diego Foundation
Founded in 1975, The San Diego Foundation’s purpose is to promote and increase effective and responsible charitable giving. The Foundation manages more than $621 million in assets, almost half of which reside in permanent endowment funds that extend the impact of today’s gifts to future generations. Since its inception, The Foundation has granted more than $833 million to the San Diego region’s nonprofit community. For additional information, please visit The San Diego Foundation at sdfoundation.org.

About the San Diego Center for Civic Engagement
The San Diego Center for Civic Engagement is the community involvement arm of The San Diego Foundation established to drive the implementation of the Our Greater San Diego Vision project, mobilize stakeholders to develop solutions to community issues and better align donor support with the needs of the region. For additional information, visit www.sdcenterforcivicengagement.org.

Gathering Places Program – San Diego
The project is part of an ongoing effort in San Diego County to restore and expand access to outdoor space that is otherwise considered a blight on the community. Manzanita Park is the second of the project’s two community-build demonstrations in San Diego County neighborhoods in 2013.

Pomegranate Center is a 27-year old non-profit that is now recognized nationally as a leader in turning those places around while involving community members who, along the way, work together, learn about each other, and take on leadership roles that make each project a success. By combining training, hands-on art-making and building, the Gathering Places Program builds local capacity and social capital that will have a lasting impact on the community. For additional information, visitwww.pomegranatecenter.org.

Contact:

Vince Heald, Beck Ellman Heald, 858-453-9600, vheald@behmedia.com

Heather Back, The San Diego Foundation, 619-235-2300, heather@sdfoundation.org