Submitted by Richard Bailey, Mayor, City of Coronado
As we work collectively here in Coronado, throughout the region, and at the state level to address the ongoing pandemic, we are reminded of the importance of making nonpartisan decisions based on guiding principles, data, and the law.
This approach continues to make Coronado one of the safest communities during the pandemic with the fourth lowest number of cases per capita in all of San Diego County.
It is this same type of collaborative, data-driven, steadfast leadership that resulted in some of the biggest accomplishments in our city’s history during the past four years.
Last month, the City Council unanimously approved a resolution to accept the relinquished segments of State Highways 75 and 282, better known as Orange Avenue, Silver Strand, and Third and Fourth streets, respectively. Prior to the city’s analysis, which began in earnest in February of 2017, there had been decades of speculation about whether pursuing relinquishment made sense for our community. After an exhaustive analysis, it was concluded that we could maintain the roads to a higher standard, guarantee the preservation of the Orange Avenue medians, and implement engineering and aesthetic alterations that would improve the safety and appearance of these streets. The decision to permanently secure local control while establishing an on-going maintenance fund using a $22 million contribution from Caltrans is one of the most consequential decisions that will forever shape Coronado.
Earlier this year, the Coronado City Council helped secure $300 million in funding from the federal government to address the Tijuana sewage issue, a decades-old environmental problem that is being solved with a collaborative approach involving bipartisan stakeholders from around the region. The Environmental Protection Agency expects to have a shovel in the ground within the next 18 months to build a project that will result in the biggest environmental improvement in the history of San Diego county.
The City Council also, in partnership with community members, successfully lobbied our state representatives to make the installation of a permanent suicide deterrent on the Coronado Bay bridge a priority for the state of California. It was announced in mid-June that Caltrans was beginning a Joint Environmental Impact Report and Environmental Assessment of the project — a major and necessary step towards the goal of saving lives and improving traffic conditions on an important corridor for the south bay.
In addition to these three major initiatives, we also tackled local issues to improve our community. From the unanimous approval of the Vons expansion into the old Cora-mart building, to the unanimous approval to install accessibility mats at the beach so everyone can now enjoy the sand, to the unanimous approval to refinance the CDA bonds which improves the long-term financial status of the Coronado Unified School District, along with many other local initiatives, these actions will lead to a better, stronger community.
There will undoubtedly be challenging times ahead and big decisions to make – the complete financial strain on our city from the Covid-19 slowdown is unknown, the battle with SANDAG and the state over RHNA is just beginning, and the reimagining of the Orange Avenue business district is finally possible.
Through a continued commitment to collaborative, data-driven, and steadfast leadership, we will answer these challenges with financially responsible, environmentally pragmatic, and socially respectful policies that improve Coronado for generations to come.
Mayor, City of Coronado