Tierrasanta, San Diego, California
Tierrasanta, Spanish for “holy land,” is a community within the city ofÂ San Diego,Â California. The symbol of Tierrasanta is an encircled Conquistador cross, similar to the Montserrat Cross ofÂ Barcelona, Spain, though it holds no religious meaning. The community is referred to as “The Island in the Hills” by locals.
Tierrasanta was originally part of theÂ Mission San Diego de AlcalÃ¡Â ranch, which was active during the late 1700s and 1800s. The U.S. military purchased the land in 1941 asÂ Camp Elliott, a Marine Corps training facility. The Marines moved out in 1944 and the land was transferred to the Navy. It was deactivated in 1946. In 1961, the U.S. Government sold the area that is now Tierrasanta and a portion of neighboringÂ Mission Trails Regional ParkÂ to the City of San Diego. In the following year, the Elliott Community Plan was issued to serve as a roadmap for development going forward, and in 1971 Tierrasanta was founded. The current Tierrasanta community plan was issued in 1982,Â and included both the currently developed area and much of what is now Mission Trails Regional Park. By 1982 approximately one-half of the private residential area had been developed, with the area called Tierrasanta Norte, in the northeastern part of town, being one of the locations still to be developed. Tierrasanta has been fully built out since the early 1990s, and by the year 2000 had reached a population of 30,187 (ZIP code 92124).Â It was one of the first master planned communities in San Diego.
Because of the area’s history as a military training base, some military debris including unexploded ordnance remained in the area when it was developed, in spite of multiple cleanup efforts by different branches of the services. In 1983 two 8-year-old Tierrasanta boys were killed after discovering unexploded ordnance in a canyon near their home.Â The Navy performed surface clearance operations in 1984 and 1985. Between 1990 and 1995 theÂ U.S. Army Corps of EngineersÂ removed tons of ordnance and debris under its FUDS (Formerly Used Defense Sites) program. The Corps continues to monitor the area.
In October 2003, Tierrasanta, among other communities in San Diego, was affected by what was known as “Firestorm 2003.” This was a conglomeration of theÂ Cedar FireÂ and numerous other wildfires that converged on Southern California. The residents of Tierrasanta were forced to evacuate. Nearly a dozen homes were lost to the blaze, which was a small number compared to the many homes burned to the ground in nearbyÂ Scripps Ranch. Shortly after, in 2004, the Tierrasanta Community Emergency Response Team (T-CERT) was created for rapid local response to natural disasters. A similar scare swept through Tierrasanta in theÂ fall of 2007, though residents were not required to evacuate.
Tierrasanta is situated like an island, not directly bordered by any community. It is bounded on the north by theÂ Mount Soledad (52) Freewayand the sprawling southern fields ofÂ MCAS Miramar; on the east by the 5,800-acreÂ Mission Trails Regional Park, which has numerous hiking and mountain biking trails; on the west byÂ Interstate 15, and on the south by steep canyons overlooking theÂ San Diego RiverÂ andÂ Mission Valley. Community activities focus on the Tierrasanta Recreation Center, which includes lighted sports fields, a large swimming pool, tennis courts, a gymnasium, and meeting rooms.Â Numerous green belts with walking paths run through the canyons of Tierrasanta. The community has tree-lined streets and a secluded “small town” atmosphere, though it is centrally located with a 20 minute drive to downtown San Diego.
Tierrasanta is a community of single family homes, condominiums, apartments, three shopping centers, a branch of theÂ San Diego Public Library, and a research park. Also located in the community are several top-ranked elementary and middle schools, part of theÂ San Diego Unified School District, includingÂ Serra High School.
Government and culture
The elected Tierrasanta Community Council (TCC) has responsibility for community planning and for advising the City of San Diego and other government agencies on local issues.
Dedicated open space areas and landscaped medians are maintained by the Tierrasanta Maintenance Assessment District, which was established in 1972 and most recently approved by voters in 1997.
The Tierrasanta Community Council has an agreement with the owners of the Tierra Towne Center for the free use of a large storefront in the shopping center by community groups.
San Diego City Councilwoman Marti Emerald, representing District 7, is a resident of Tierrasanta.
The community has jogging/biking trails and several baseball and soccer teams.
- Tony HawkÂ grew-up in Tierrasanta and attended Farb Middle School. Presently, the Tony Hawk Foundation is raising funds for a million-dollar skatepark in Tierrasanta.