Welcome to Viva-city and Downtown San Diego
Sandra Simmons

Life in the City

-by Sandra Simmons

I am mesmerized by cosmopolitan cities…the people, the sounds, the tall buildings, the sparkle, the energy and especially the vibrant life.

Years ago, with the opportunity to relocate anywhere, I began a search to find my paradise. Requirements: in the heart of a city, with an interesting skyline, on the west coast, by the water, in the sun, arts, culture. As I flew into San Diego, I peered out the plane’s narrow window and immediately knew I had found home. I fell in love with the remarkable blend of significant buildings, the innovative tower shapes combined with rustic warehouses, the white sails dotting the sparkling bay, the swaying palm trees, the uplifting sun.

In the cab ride Downtown, I felt a city in the process of becoming. All the pieces of the puzzle were here just waiting to be assembled. One month later in the sunny spring of 1992, I took my front row seat in anticipation of watching our community piece together.

What a process I witnessed! Many recently completed beautiful condos sat vacant for years. A man was killed when his car was jacked on 5th & G. It wasn’t safe to walk east of 6th Ave. Warehouse docks were shelters for the homeless’ cardboard homes. Every day the sound of shattering car glass brought me to the window. Even at noon, I’d walk down Broadway without seeing another human being.

Yet, more importantly, I witnessed the promise of what could be, for I knew “if you build it, they will come”.

As the potential rapidly becomes reality, I begin to ponder the question…Are we redefining life in a world-class city?

Super Bowl gave me a glimpse into our future, one of incredible vibrancy. Trolleys full of guests excited by possibilities of adventure, from different backgrounds and beliefs, all mingling with beaming faces, spilling into our neighborhoods to enjoy what our unique community has to offer. Downtowners welcoming and sharing in the excitement.

The future also holds some challenges, yet will not impede life as we know it. With the exception of a few baseball game days and special events, our population will be disbursed throughout Downtown instead of being packed onto the streets of Gaslamp, lining Harbor Drive, or swarming out of Marina Park Northafter the finale of the greatest fireworks display.

Traffic at non-peak hours will be manageable, though not what we’re accustomed to encountering. During peak hours, we’ll leisurely stroll by traffic to our destination. Amidst all the tourists lured by the quickened pace of our special offerings, life for us walked along at a normal pace.

John and Denise Crofton (Brickyard) went to see Fidelio.

Barbara and David Middleman ( Park Place) talked with neighbors at a local coffee shop. Larry Marshall (Marina Place, soon Park Place) rode his birthday bike down the Embarcadero.

Lysta Gibbons and her 16-year-old daughter Ashley (Watermark) walked Oliver, their Wheaton terrier. Katie Reed (CityFront) strolled to church.

Joy Charlotta and Steve Eddy (Park Row), and others chanted OM and went into downward facing dog at during yoga class.

Before long, the building will be complete; they will come. Life in our world-class city, our community, will be filled with life, sparkle and energy. - February 6, 2003

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