Southeast San Diego Celebrates New Walgreens Groundbreaking


By Kimetha Hill
Staff Writer

Residents in Southeast San Diego have been lobbying for convenient grocery, pharmacy and retail shopping in their neighborhood for years. The community has grown restless in its pursuit towards revitalization, as their concerns have fallen upon deaf ears for decades. But with the groundbreaking of a new Walgreens, residents will now have a community pharmacy and drugstore right in the heart of Southeast.
On Monday, February 24, the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation hosted a special Groundbreaking Ceremony at the site of the new Walgreens location at the north corner of Market St. and Euclid Ave, to celebrate the commencement of construction. Several city leaders were on hand to offer praise and remarks of relief and excitement. The community also made a strong showing to offer their approval.
“We’ve been waiting so long for this, in this community and the wait is now over,” said Interim Mayor Todd Gloria. “Neighborhood reinvestment exists. We’ve seen it downtown – and now we want to bring this to Encanto.”
Gloria used the Walgreens groundbreaking ceremony as a platform to emphasize putting neighborhood revitalization at the forefront of the City’s plans.
“You shouldn’t have to drive miles and miles to get your medication. You shouldn’t have to go north of the 8 to get a place to sit down and have a meal. Investing in District 4 makes sense, it’s a good investment. You will make money coming to this community because you have a pent up demand that you don’t have in other communities, because folks have to travel outside of their community.”Myrtle Cole1
Investing in District 4 was a recurring theme among the morning’s speakers as Councilmember Myrtle Cole provided some staggering figures of dollars spent by her district’s residents. She cited a 2006 retail analysis that detailed District 4 residents’ had spent over $1.6 billion, $95 million of which was spent on health and beauty aids. “This proves that there is a demand for pharmacy. Even more important to note, a total of $187 million was spent outside of Council District 4. We have the dollars, we spend the dollars.”
“This is an historical day for us, as we stand here on the site of the very first Walgreens in the 4th Council District,” said Cole, whose priority is economic development. “A lot of us went north of [Interstate] 8 to get things like retail, groceries. But not anymore. We’re going to make sure that you only have to drive five minutes to go to Walgreens. We want to spend our dollars here, and we want to make sure that other folks from other districts come here also and spend their dollars. When a national retailer comes here to this district, it means more jobs for our residents. Not only the temporary construction jobs, but also permanent retail and customer service positions.”
Supervisor Ron Roberts shared Cole’s vision and passion to see one of San Diego’s most neglected neighborhoods thrive.City leaders
The construction of the Walgreen’s hopes to provide much needed jobs and a major economic boost to this Southeastern San Diego community on the rise. Said Encanto resident and member of the community planning board Ken Malbrough, “Going forward, this area has changed. We have many, many opportunities – especially along the transit corridor. And we need to take advantage of that. This will be a plan where the community does get their input.”
But Malbrough urged residents to keep their efforts concerted. “You’ve worked hard. You’ve got this done. But guess what, your work is not over. It is not over. I repeat, it’s not over. We can get this building up, but you have to show up. And you have to invest. We need to make this Walgreens one of the high performers of the City of San Diego. We give a lot of money to other communities, we need to reverse that and bring that money back here.”

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