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National City flourishes in the middle of it all Chris Zapata | Sat, Apr 09 2011 12:00 PM


Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, working together is success.

- Henry Ford

The second oldest city in San Diego County, historic National City, has a great deal of news to share with readers of The Star-News. This readership includes our residents, neighbors, investors and visitors to our ever changing community.

Each month this column will cover projects, people and progress in National City. As our citizenry knows very well, many interesting happenings are creating a better city that one might not notice daily - but over a period of time dramatic change is occurring. No longer a secret, National City is being recognized on a state and national level for major projects such as our Marina Gateway improvements and wonderful library.

Change and progress are driven by people and problems. As the world and national and state economies face unprecedented problems, the need for local government to inform and work with stakeholders to achieve results is crucial.

Over the past five years many people in National City have found common purpose to enhance our livability and business environment. Over one billion public and private dollars of investment has created family and business opportunity in our city. From Plaza Bonita mall to the Pier 32 Marina, from Paradise Creek preservation to well paved streets and transportation corridors, from quality housing such as Paradise Village to gleaming hotels such as the Sycuan MRW Best Western, National City is undergoing eye opening change.

The recipe for this progress is fairly simple - a desire to improve, political vision and leadership, an entrepreneurial business spirit, strong education systems, dedicated and competitive public servants and most importantly a supportive community. Youth and seniors, active and engaged folk from schools and churches, as well as businesses and volunteers are essential to the National City recipe.

These are the human ingredients required to achieve our goals. Although we have committed partners in abundance, to sustain a desirable community, much more work and patience is required.

We face real sustainability challenges so our competitive edge must be sharpened daily. Even with past momentum and natural assets, such as being bordered by San Diego Bay and the Sweetwater Channel on our southern and western borders, we face challenges.

Even with an ideal location situated between the two largest and fastest growing areas in the county, we are faced with urban issues that come with being in the center of a bi-national region of five million people.

Even with a constantly improving transportation system that includes freeways, train, trolley, bikes, boats and mass transit, we face maintenance challenges.

Even with an enviable business base and the strongest per person return on sales in San Diego County, we are faced with difficult economic choices. As most city, county and state governments face issues of sustainability, so does National City.

National City has always been a place that people drive to, whether to purchase a vehicle on the Mile of Cars or to dine in one of our many restaurants on Highland Avenue.

The goal is to amplify on that success and become a city where people continue to invest in homes, create jobs, hold special events and enjoy our historic neighborhoods in a safe and healthy environment. As we work toward those goals, I will do my best to keep you in the know about our progress.

Stay tuned.

Zapata is the National City city manager.

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