“This is the jewel of our community. Everybody walks by it.”
Marianne Gibson hikes the hillside near her Chula Vista house every day, but despite the beautiful views, she says the area hasn’t been maintained in more than 30 years.
“Needles, bottles, marijuana bottles, condoms. You find a lot of condoms on this roadway,” Gibson said about the trash that litters the would-be scenic route.
Although the hillside area is owned by the city, Gibson told NBC 7 the neighbors are the ones who maintain it as best they can.
“Well, to some level we are maintaining it,” she said.
Now Gibson and her neighbors are looking to the election for possible answers to their problem. In a first this year, an election will be held for a District 2 council member, who Gibson hopes will be supportive in cleaning up the hillside.
“I understand the constraints that the city is under right now,” she admits, but “it would be much easier if we had a partner in the city.”
Candidate Jesse Navarro said the hillside is the city’s responsibility, especially since the residents pay $130 a year in property taxes to maintain the open space.
“It is absolutely unreasonable that the local residents that live here have to maintain it and clean up,” he said.
Navarro is one of six candidates hoping to win the seat.
NBC 7 reached out to the other candidates and some said they support Gibson and her efforts.
Jill Galvez and Patrick Macfarland said Gibson is doing the right thing and the city should be more proactive.
Steven Stenberg told NBC 7 the city needs to maintain 11-foot clearances for wildfire danger from the back of the house in the urban interface areas of the county.
Steve Castaneda said having the city or any government as a neighbor is usually not a good thing. He wasn't clear on the details regarding Gibson's complaint but said, there are a lot of examples where the city can do a better job maintaining their property.
Max Zaker said, "the City of Chula Vista has a responsibility to keep our neighborhoods safe and maintained. This includes maintaining properties that it owns."
In the meantime, Gibson said the city has made safety improvements, but it’s not enough.
“We will do whatever it takes to restore this area and bring this area back to life,” she promises, “and hopefully bring back my neighbors to walk in this area.”