Open Letter to Councilmember Kent Lee - Epicentre

To secure the future of Mira Mesa Community Park and ensure the Epicentre’s use for recreation across all age groups, it is vital to implement the following changes before the County of San Diego takes full possession, contingent on City Council approval:

1. Revoke the CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) to prevent unintended use. 

See CDBG guidelines below. Link to Rehabilitation, Operation and Lease of the City-owned Property (EPICENTRE) located at 8450 Mira Mesa Blvd, San Diego, California 92126. Link to CDBG Agreement between the City of San Diego and Harmonium, the former operator of the Epicentre which will apply when the Epicentre is leased to the County of San Diego.

2. Shift property oversight from Dream (Department of Real Estate and Airport Management) to the San Diego Park and Recreation Department for alignment with the park’s recreational goals.

Without these adjustments, there is no assurance that the Epicentre won’t be repurposed for mental health, drug rehabilitation, homeless, or migrant services. The building has remained unused and depreciating for seven years due to grant restrictions. These changes will ensure the Epicentre positively contributes to the community and halts further depreciation.

We urge Councilmember Kent Lee to champion these changes and protect our community park. 

November 14, 2023

Honorable Councilmember Kent Lee

City Administration Building
202 “C” Street, 10th Floor
San Diego, CA 92101

Subject: Resolution to Transfer Oversight of the Mira Mesa Epicentre from the Department of Real Estate and Airport Management to San Diego City Park and Recreation Department, Community Engagement, Removal of CDBG Encumbrance and Protection of Mira Mesa Community Fund #400182

Dear Councilmember Lee,

We are writing to you on behalf of Mira Mesa and its surrounding neighborhoods’ residents to bring attention to a matter of great importance to our community.

There are four pivotal aspects of the Epicentre’s transformation that necessitate your support and the full support of the City Council. We need your help!

  1. Comprehensive Community Engagement: We earnestly request that no lease agreements involving any entities be endorsed or negotiated by the City of San Diego without undertaking a thorough outreach effort and meaningful dialogues with the Mira Mesa and surrounding communities. Why is such an agreement in the best interest of the community? Why has the Epicentre been boarded and closed for 7 + years by the city? Too many questions remain. We propose that the city of San Diego spearhead this outreach initiative rather than the County of San Diego.

In the event of a lease proposal, we request that the terms of the agreement be presented to the community for comments before final approval of the City Council. This includes considerations such as the length of the lease, maintenance agreements, escape clauses, and any potential future repurposing of the facility. It is essential to clarify if the lease will provide any financial benefits to the city.

  1. Transfer of Oversight: We respectfully urge the adoption of a resolution that would shift administrative responsibility for the Mira Mesa Epicentre from the Department of Real Estate and Airport Management to the San Diego Park and Recreation Department before a lease is approved by the City Council. The following are issues that will be mutually beneficial to the community, city, and county and why the transfer of oversight is warranted:

Increase Park Acreage

Given the rapid population growth experienced by Mira Mesa, the necessity for expanded parkland to meet the burgeoning recreational demands has become a pressing concern. Positioned within the Mira Mesa Community Park, the Epicentre has long been regarded as an integral element of our community’s park landscape.

Public Health and Safety Concerns

Having remained closed, boarded up for nearly eight years, the Epicentre could potentially present public health and safety hazards to our community. The Park and Recreation Department can promptly provide ongoing maintenance and oversight while the building remains closed. Its close proximity to Mira Mesa Park and Recreation Center on the opposite side of the field further emphasizes its significance.

Joint Use Agreement

The resolution to transfer oversight of the Epicentre to the San Diego City Park and Recreation Department presents a mutually beneficial solution. It does not preclude the County and City from entering into a joint-use agreement to establish programming focused on recreational activities for youth and individuals of all ages, without the necessity of a long-term lease of 50 years or more.

We ask that before entering into a lease agreement, the city should explore the possibility of a clear joint use agreement between the city and the county’s Park and Recreation Department, outlining the types of programs that will cater to all age groups and avoid duplications of programs for our youth. The program offerings should also be coordinated with the Mira Mesa High School to avoid duplication of efforts to address our youth.

  1.  Removal of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Encumbrance

When Harmonium, the former operator, relinquished the lease in 2016, it’s worth noting that the Teen Center portion of the Epicentre remained in a usable condition and had even received $100,000 in CDBG funding for improvements in 2013. This raises a pertinent question about why the nearby Park and Recreation department did not opt to utilize this space for additional youth programming and the city let it sit vacant for the last 7 + years with no visible periodic maintenance. Now, it will cost taxpayers money $8 million dollars to rehabilitate the Epicenter.

We propose the removal of the CDBG lien/encumbrance before any lease or transfer of oversight for the Epicentre. This action would reassure our community that the Epicentre’s programming is not bound solely by the strict requirements of the CDBG. We asked the City to waive the requirement and explore funding to reimburse the CDBG account from outside sources like the Mira Mesa Community Fund.

Our vision is to see the Epicentre as a hub for recreational activities for all ages, embracing arts and culture. Let’s seize this opportunity to create a space that embodies the essence of a creative neighborhood, aligning with the city’s aspiration to become a vibrant “Creative City.”

4. Protection of Mira Mesa Community Fund #400182 with current balance of $1,014,108.30 as of 8/24/23

We ask our Mayor and the City Council to protect the Mira Mesa Community Fund and ensure the city will not earmark this fund to other projects without consultation with the community as required and with full City Council approval. 

Click here to download pdf file for the powerpoint presentation on the historical background and current status of the Fund.

Thank you for your consideration and attention to this urgent matter.









Note: This will apply when the Epicentre is leased to the County of San Diego.

The operation of the property must meet the CDBG Program’s National Objective of

benefiting Low/Moderate Income persons (LMI). Note: Below will apply when the Epicentre is leased to the County of San Diego)

The use of the facility must be designed for activities which provide benefits to a specific group of persons rather than everyone in a particular area (Low/Moderate (L/M) Income Limited Clientele).

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has defined two methods to meet this National Objective:

  1. Direct Benefit to LMI Persons:

To meet the Direct Benefit to LMI Persons category, an applicant must fully describe how they will document the income status of beneficiaries to ensure that at least 51% of the clientele are persons whose household income is in compliance with the current HUD LMI income limits. This requirement applies to activities that are restricted exclusively to LMI persons as well. Annual income documentation must be maintained and will be reviewed by City staff.

The current applicable income limits for the City of San Diego’s CDBG Program

can be found at the end of this Exhibit.

  1. Presumed LMI Clientele:

To meet the Presumed LMI Clientele category, an applicant must fully describe how the proposed activity will serve a population from the following predefined list from HUD:



 Abused Children

 Battered Spouses

 Elderly Persons (62 and over)

 Severely Disabled Adults*

 Homeless Persons

 Illiterate Adults

 Persons Living with AIDS

 Migrant Farm Workers


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Who are Mira Mesa Concerned Citizens?

Mira Mesa Concerned Citizens is a dynamic coalition and vigilant watchdog group. Our mission is to passionately champion the interests of Mira Mesa residents at both the City and County levels, striving to instill representation, accountability, and transparency in the policy decision-making processes that impact our community. 

Mira Mesa Concerned Citizens advocacy work is possible with fiscal sponsor Parents for Quality Education, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization.