On Friday September 1st, we co-hosted a community placemaking meeting at African Caribbean Market, together with market owners Christian and Grace Bempong. The goal of the meeting was to gather feedback from community members, shoppers, business owners and other City Heights stakeholders on market makeover designs and on opportunities for improved walking and shopping on El Cajon Boulevard.
Our Community Health Specialist Kate Mahoney, and our Live Well Community Market Program Intern Leah Contardi facilitated the meeting. After a short introduction, attendees reviewed the designs that were created by students Nicholas Josue and Lauren Ito at San Diego State’s School of Art and Design with input from market owners. Next, community stakeholders were presented with the question: Considering these designs, what else could improve your experience walking and shopping on this block, and particularly here at African Caribbean Market? Everyone had the opportunity to respond to the question, and their suggestions were posted for all to see. Some of the suggestions included: improved lighting, added greenery, sidewalk art, improved and simplified market signage, and clean-up. Lastly, attendees helped prioritize suggestions by placing a sticker by the most important idea.
Moving forward, we’ll incorporate the suggestions into a new cohesive design to share back with the community and owners. Keep an eye out for the community build date(s) sometime this fall. There will be volunteer opportunities to paint, plant, clean, and generally just have fun and create!