Residents in the San Diego neighborhood of Oak Park are finally receiving the funding they've been advocating for: $20 million of the nearly $70 million being sent to San Diego from the state budget will be used to fund the construction of a library branch that will replace one that's more than 50 years old.
On Thursday, San Diego mayor Todd Gloria, as well as several city and state representatives, announced plans to build a the library in an undeveloped part of Chollas Lake Park, which is in the community of Oak Park.
Dr. Akila Weber, who represents the area as a California State Representative and is an Oak Park native, was one of many state officials who spoke about the project, at a press conference outside the current Oak Park Branch Library.
“These communities will get a state-of-the-art library computing learning center that they most desperately deserve,” Weber said.
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Longtime resident and community activist Elida Chavez told NBC7 she has been asking for a new library for decades. She currently leads the Friends of the Oak Park Library Chapter. Thursday, generations of her and her family’s hard work paid off. Community leaders, including State Senator Toni Atkins, announced that $20 million had been secured for the library.
“This is the most important day of my life, and I can go home to the lord now," Chavez said. "I’m finished with this huge project.”
The library is one of 19 slated projects, including include parks and museums, San Diego plans to pay for with the state funding.
Oak Park Community Council president Richard Diaz told NBC 7 that the library was long overdue.
“We’re hoping that this library is going to be, like, a focal point for the community,” Diaz said.
For now, the project is in its early stages, with a plans underway to release a request for proposal bid application for design consultants.
“We will have projects in Spanish, Cambodian, different African languages, because we are a very diverse community," Diaz said. "Yes, we are very happy today."