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Group Wants San Diego AIDS Memorial In Future Bankers Hill Park

A vacant lot at the corner of Olive Street and Third Avenue in Bankers Hill i...

Photo by Katie Schoolov

Above: A vacant lot at the corner of Olive Street and Third Avenue in Bankers Hill is seen here, Aug. 24, 2017.

The San Diego AIDS Memorial Task Force has chosen a small plot of land in Bankers Hill as its preferred location for the future memorial. The city already has plans to convert the parcel into a small neighborhood park.

The San Diego AIDS Memorial Task Force has announced it is seeking to create an AIDS memorial on a parcel in Bankers Hill already due to become a city park.

Plans for the Olive Street Park on a vacant lot at the corner of Olive Street and Third Avenue were included in the neighborhood's community plan update last year. Nicole Murray-Ramirez, co-chair of the task force, said other locations the group explored in Hillcrest, Balboa Park and downtown were less desirable because they were less quiet and peaceful.

"We want to go somewhere where we can sit down and reflect and contemplate and celebrate quietly the people we have lost," he said.

The task force is hosting a public meeting at 6 p.m. at St. Paul's Cathedral to discuss plans for the memorial and solicit design proposals. It has been fundraising to create an AIDS memorial in San Diego since 2015.

RELATED: Board Approves Plan To Eradicate HIV/AIDS In San Diego

The county Health and Human Services Department recorded 446 new HIV diagnoses in 2014. Diana Schmid, pharmacy specialist with the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and another member of the AIDS Memorial Task Force, said the memorial could put renewed focus on efforts to end the epidemic.

"There's a thing called complacency now," she said. "And so this is an opportunity, with the park and with a memorial, to teach."

Murray-Ramirez said he expects the task force to reach its fundraising goal with a cash infusion from the sale of the nearby Truax House, which served as San Diego's first AIDS hospice.

The proceeds from that sale, which the City Council approved last year, have to go into the city's gas tax fund—but mayoral spokesman Craig Gustafson said city staffers would present a plan to the City Council in December to shift money around in the budget to allow some funding to go to Olive Street Park.

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