The Gaslamp Association held its first of many planned town hall meetings Tuesday afternoon to talk about a major project for the heart of San Diego's downtown.
The Gaslamp Quarter Association met with businesses and residents to answer questions about a plan to change Fifth Avenue into a pedestrian promenade. Under the proposed plan, cars and trucks and parking spaces would be removed on Fifth Avenue from L Street to Broadway and replaced by eight different plazas with more shops, hotels, restaurants.
The project would cost $40 million and would have to be approved by the city of San Diego.
"The city wants to know real world feedback and real world concerns, so we can actually attack the concerns before we build it," said Executive Director of the Gaslamp Quarter Association, Michael Trimble.
The money would come from federal and state grants, the county and the city, as well as corporations and sponsors, Trimble said. This is just the beginning of the process, and the first of many town hall meetings, with more to come, he said, adding he hopes the project could be completed by 2025.
Japheth Cleaver was at the meeting. He said his living room overlooks Fifth Avenue and he would definitely be negatively impacted. Tourists do not need more of a reason to come to the Gaslamp, Cleaver said. He also worries it could be a draw for the homeless population.
"When you have all that and then you add in the impacts of traffic, especially east-west in lower Gaslamp, and the potential for the homeless draw, it just doesn't seem like it's worth the major investment and major disruption it's going to cause," he said.
Peter Lemke, who markets events in the Gaslamp said, "I think it's what the Gaslamp needs. We need to send more of a hospitality message to people, give them more of a reason to come down... a shopping district, more walkablility is important to a city, a city like this."
The next town hall meeting to discuss the plan is in March.