San Diego

Citizens’ Initiative Revives Push for Convention Center Expansion

The group expects the plan to attract billions of dollars to the local economy and create thousands of new jobs.

A new citizens' initiative launched Monday is renewing calls to expand downtown San Diego’s convention center.

Leaders from across local industries such as business, tourism and labor met to discuss the initiative, as part of a group known as Yes for a Better San Diego. They are working to get voter approval on a tourism tax increase to bankroll the expansion project.

Similarly to the SoccerCity proposal, the group will collect registered voters' signatures in the hope of gathering enough to put the proposed tax on the ballot.

Supporters have said the expansion of the Convention Center will help grow San Diego’s economy and maintain major tourism-boosting events like the pop culture extravaganza Comic-Con.

"This expansion drives our economy. This expansion will create jobs," Jaymie Bradford said, the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. "And importantly, it provides a significant funding stream for homelessness."

Profits from the project would help alleviate homelessness and support road repairs and infrastructure in San Diego. The group said the initiative would not allow the city to reduce expenditures on current programs supporting homeless individuals.

"So this is a huge need in terms of the homeless and in terms of our low-income working families," Carol Kim said, the political director of the San Diego County Building and Construction Trades Council. "And even our moderate-income working families. There's a real need there as well."

According to the group, this plan is expected to bring in billions of dollars for the local economy and create thousands of new permanent jobs.

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