The lack of order, garbage accumulation, people sleeping on sidewalks, prostitution, graffiti and even the presence of illegal drugs such as fentanyl are factors that have damaged the image of Broadway Street, the street where the largest number of businesses in Chula Vista are concentrated.

This was made evident in an interview with Ricky Maldonado, a young businessman and member of a family that founded a successful Mexican home-cooked restaurant in 1954, located in this historic part of the city. Maldonado was interviewed shortly before a meeting (Business Mixer) of a group of entrepreneurs who participate in the Envisión Broadway project, which aims to improve the street's image.

"We deserve for it to be clean. We have many very good restaurants in this area, and I think we deserve to have it clean, to be safe, so that someone from the north, perhaps, says, 'You know, I'm going to go check out these restaurants, I like them, and then they stop visiting because the street is unsafe or dirty or there is garbage," he said. "So, if you're from here, well, you know it, but if you come from downtown or further north in San Diego, you might decide it's better not to go there. And all of that affects commerce and everything. We need more attention, I think more investment in the city, and it needs to be presentable," Maldonado added.

Asked how he found out about this project, Maldonado said, "We were invited to a meeting, and they asked us for our opinion on how to improve this street, and they presented us with the idea of painting murals and that it would help eliminate graffiti, and we want all entrepreneurs and residents to be together in this effort so that things get done, and we are happy to do it."

He finally revealed that "they are going to make a mural on the wall of the restaurant soon, with designs, probably this month or next we will have a nice mural there, and I think that will help to make the street look a little better and avoid graffiti."

In fact, Julio Martha, founder of the San Diego Art Society, has coordinated mural creation efforts as a way to counteract graffiti and promote social and community pride. He noted that so far, this plan has started with murals painted on a tire sales business and the hotel where the meeting took place.

They plan to create a large mural at the Chula Vista Mall. Martha anticipates that they will build a large mural – 200 feet long by 14 feet high – in the Chula Vista Mall, and it will be a "complete mural. It's a hallway that would come from the parking lot to the new one they are building. So when you park your car in the parking lot, you walk through that hallway."

"It's very exciting to work on a project of this magnitude. and it doesn't stop there, all the businesses on Broadway," Julio Martha considered. He revealed that he has already invited four well-known muralists: Victor Ochoa, who has been painting murals in Chicano Park for over 40 years; Vallo Riberto; Gerardo Mesa, a Tijuana muralist of international stature, who is leading the San Ysidro projects; and the fourth is master Israel Elizondo, a Tijuana artist of international stature.

Regarding the selection criteria for the artists, Julio added that he does it through "a conversation I have with the artist, and if they feel comfortable or I know they are prepared to do a mural of such scale, I invite them. My intention and the project's intention is to invite community artists to represent it."

The interviewee anticipated that they were already in talks with the company Westfield, owner of the shopping center, and specifically with their general director, Ramón Oceguera, regarding the project. Martha also highlighted that her idea was to reflect the history of the city of Chula Vista in that mural: "It's quite an extensive history. The idea is to showcase its history from the beginning, when it was in Otay, the train, the braceros, and the diversity that exists now."

"We contacted the Chula Vista Historical Center. In the coming weeks, we will have a meeting with them so that they can provide the artists with accurate, verifiable, and valuable information," she emphasized. "I know that many businesses read the newspaper. If they have walls and want to put up a mural, we support them. There is funding available from the city. They don't have to pay; it can be inside or outside the business."

He also mentioned that businesses on Broadway interested in having a mural painted should call Sarah Boyer, Program Manager at the Institute for Public Strategies at (619) 476-9100 extension 126 or email

On another note, Craig Reed, regional director of the Institute for Public Strategies, gave an audiovisual presentation titled "Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design."

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *