San Diego leaders announced plans Thursday to begin funding fixes to emergency response delays disproportionately plaguing some of the city’s neediest neighborhoods.

The city expects to allocate $3 million toward land and design costs for new fire stations on Home Avenue in City Heights and in Skyline as part of a $120 million infrastructure loan scheduled for City Council approval in January.

Home Avenue and Skyline are two of the five neighborhoods within 9 ½ square miles south and east of downtown identified by a consultant almost three years ago as having the highest risk of a delayed emergency response in the city. Home Avenue topped the list, followed by Paradise Hills, College Area, Skyline and Encanto.

The neighborhoods are among the city’s poorest and brownest. City leaders have broken numerous promises about funding new fire facilities in those neighborhoods.

In July, we told the story of residents in those neighborhoods who had been shot, burned, in need of oxygen and in cardiac arrest who waited far longer than the Fire-Rescue Department’s 7 minute, 30 second response time goal for help to arrive.

All three major mayoral candidates now list bolstering emergency response times among their top priorities if they’re elected.


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The potential funding revealed Thursday won’t be enough to build the new stations, but it’s the first time the city will put money toward them. The loan, announced by interim mayor Todd Gloria and Council members Marti Emerald and Mark Kersey at an existing fire station in City Heights, will primarily provide funds to repair broken city streets, storm drains and buildings. There’s also $1 million for busted sidewalks.

Former Mayor Bob Filner had delayed the loan in a cost-saving move, and the amount has grown from a planned $80 million to $120 million.

Kersey’s infrastructure committee will discuss the loan next week, and the Council is expected to sign off in January.

    This article relates to: Emergency Response Times, Infrastructure, Investigations, News, Share

    Written by Liam Dillon

    Liam Dillon is senior reporter and assistant editor for Voice of San Diego. He leads VOSD’s investigations and writes about how regular people interact with local government. What should he write about next? Please contact him directly at liam.dillon@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5663.

    2 comments
    john stump
    john stump

    I am very excited about a new fire station on Home Avenue, From that location fire can be dispatched to City Heights southern neighborhoods and cover many other areas of the City via Federal Boulevard or the MLK 94 freeway. Too bad the Home Avenue extension to market Street has never been completed. Does anyone know what this credit card "Christmas " will cost the taxpayers? Is this borrowing going to be like the Poway School bonds , so we will end up paying aback a Billion dollars for a 199 million in credit?

    john stump
    john stump subscriber

    I am very excited about a new fire station on Home Avenue, From that location fire can be dispatched to City Heights southern neighborhoods and cover many other areas of the City via Federal Boulevard or the MLK 94 freeway. Too bad the Home Avenue extension to market Street has never been completed. Does anyone know what this credit card "Christmas " will cost the taxpayers? Is this borrowing going to be like the Poway School bonds , so we will end up paying aback a Billion dollars for a 199 million in credit?