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Residents express concerns about former Epicentre building in Mira Mesa

Mira Mesa concerned citizens
Posted at 5:31 PM, Mar 21, 2024

For Isabel Taku, visiting her community park in Mira Mesa has become a part of her routine. It's a safe place where she can let her kids run around and have fun.

But there is one area she intentionally avoids.

“If you are walking with your family, you are going to walk on the other side of the street. It's uncertainty, it's unsafe," Taku says.

Over the years, a vacant building, which was once a teen center called the “Epicentre,” has become a problem for residents.

The issues include graffiti, trash, vandalism and homeless encampments.

Mitz Lee is part of the organization Mira Mesa Concerned Citizens, an advocacy group that’s been fighting for years to get the building cleaned up and opened for community use.

She says they’ve reached out unsuccessfully to both the city and county to start a dialogue about what the neighborhood would like there, which includes assigning oversight of the building to Parks And Recreation.

“We ask a very simple question before you do a negotiation of lease: Can we have a meaningful engagement with the Mira Mesa community spearheaded by the city?” Lee says.

ABC 10News reached out to the City of San Diego, which owns the property.

It issued a statement which says, in part, “discussions with the County were initiated in 2021. Since then, the County has conducted extensive public outreach and design, and negotiations for a lease are currently active between the City and County, and is anticipated to be finalized for approval in the coming months.”

"The City does maintain the property and periodically checks on the condition of the site,“ the statement reads. "There are no known reports or encampments to the city at this site.”

Residents say that’s not enough as they continue to push for better use of this property and a bigger voice in this process.

"The community needs to know if we have say or don't have a say," Taku says.