Metro San Diego CDC Letter Regarding the Conceptual Design of the San Diego AIDS Memorial



536 Maple Street, No. 103

San Diego, California 92103

(619) 822-5103


October 19, 2017


Dear Co-Chairs & Members of the AIDS Memorial Task Force:

As a result of an online design competition, a preferred conceptual design for the San Diego AIDS Memorial was put forward in early October 2017.  The proposed conceptual design will be considered for adoption by the San Diego AIDS Task Force at a future meeting. The San Diego AIDS Memorial will be placed within the Olive Street Park (“Woods McKee Park”) in Bankers Hill.

The Metro San Diego Community Development Corporation (“Metro San Diego CDC”) reviewed and discussed the proposed preferred conceptual design at its October 16, 2017 meeting.  Metro San Diego CDC members have been involved in the planning and development of the Olive Street Park for over a decade.  The proposed park consists of a northern parcel, which was donated to the City of San Diego over a decade ago by the Woods-McKee family for use as a park, and a southern parcel purchased by the City of San Diego in 2010. Both parcels together will become the future “Woods-McKee Park.”

The City of San Diego, because of limited funding, had indicated that the design/construction of the Olive Street Park would not take place until after about 2026.  However, as a result of the sale of the Truax House property in 2017, funds were obtained to begin the immediate design and construction of the future Olive Street Park, conditioned on the placing of the San Diego AIDS Memorial within the new park. The Metro San Diego CDC endorsed the placement of the AIDS Memorial in the Olive Street Park in a letter dated October 27, 2016.

The Metro San Diego CDC, after reviewing the preferred conceptual design of the San Diego AIDS Memorial, approved the following motion by a vote of 17-0:

1.) The Metro San Diego CDC is very favorably impressed with the preferred conceptual design, particularly that of the northern parcel and its cantilevered canyon lookout;

2.) As the AIDS Memorial was intended to be a memorial placed in a community park; the Metro San Diego CDC requests that the AIDS Task Force honor its previous commitment to not use more than 25% of the land within the proposed Olive Street Park for the AIDs Memorial.  This could be done through utilizing the preferred conceptual design for the northern parcel of the proposed park; while the southern parcel would be utilized for community park use;

3.) The Metro San Diego CDC recommends the proposed memorial path on the southern parcel with boulders with “names engraved of those lost” be removed from the preferred design concept.  The memorial path would be in close proximity to the neighborhood play structure, and having a memorial walk/memorialized rocks next to the children’s playground is inappropriate.  The memorial path and rocks should be relocated to the northern parcel;

4.) The proposed parking within the proposed park’s footprint along the west side of Third Avenue should be removed. It reduces the size of the future park, and there is already street parking on Third Avenue, as well as additional parking a few blocks away in Balboa Park;

5.) The medium tree in middle of Third Avenue is not part of the proposed park, and should not be included as part of the memorial.   It is unknown who has jurisdiction over medium with the tree, whether it’s the City of San Diego or an adjacent private property owner.

The Metro San Diego CDC again expresses it support for the AIDS Memorial being placed in Olive Street Park, and is very impressed with the preferred design conceptual, with the suggested modifications stated above.

Sincerely yours,

B. Michael Seidel

B. Michael Seidel, President,

Metro San Diego CDC