March 9, 2001

Market Creek Plaza Unveils Amphitheater, Grocery Store and Local Talent

Market Creek Plaza marked the completion of Phase I of construction with a community celebration hosted by the Jacobs Center for NonProfit Innovation and the resident teams driving the development of San Diego's most innovative commercial and cultural center. More than 700 people attended the party, which celebrated the first of five phases that will bring the 20-acre project to completion.

The amphitheater at Market Creek Plaza

In addition to serving as a grand opening of the Food 4 Less grocery store, the event also gave residents a chance to preview the 500-seat amphitheater, the city's newest outdoor entertainment venue. The amphitheater served as a focal point for the day's festivities, showcasing a host of local performers who won a two-week talent search in the community. Rickey Laster, producer of the event's entertainment portion, and local music industry professionals including Gus Lawler, Robert Turner, and Floyd A. Smith, held open auditions to give up-and-coming performers an opportunity to be seen by a large audience.

"We received a tremendous response from the community," said Laster. "The amphitheater is going to be a great venue for showcasing local talent."

Kelly Scott, winner of the adult competition, said, "You can tell the amphitheater is going to be beautiful when it's complete. It will really enhance the neighborhood. We've needed this for years."

All first place winners received $500 cash prizes. Second place winners in each category earned $300, and third place received $150. Group performance winners were MOTOJAYE Arts Institute for Youth, which took first, The Wiz Kidz of the Noir Youth Theater taking second, and The High Steppers Drill Team taking third. Lakisha Brown and Jazmine Mitchell won first and second place, respectively, in the under-12 category, while teens Jameson Tate, Aisha Daniel, and Kaalana Gift took first, second and third, respectively in their category.

Entertainment was also provided by the Lao Heritage Dance Group and the Young Polynesians.

Backup music for the performances was provided by Lee Jones and the Boys from the Blessed Assurance Baptist Church. Rodney Burns, a local songwriter, also helped stage the performances.

Jennifer Vanica, executive director of Jacobs Center for NonProfit Innovation, thanked the community for its efforts in bringing Market Creek Plaza to reality. "Literally hundreds of community residents helped us dream a dream and then figure out how to achieve it," she said.

Introducing Miguel Bonilla, Food 4 Less store manager, she said, "Three years ago, this site was considered undevelopable, that though nothing could happen here. But Food 4 Less was first to step up and say, `We can see the vision. There's a great potential here and we want to be a part of it.'"

The goal of Market Creek is to provide an economic infrastructure that will create jobs and generate equity opportunities for community residents. The project developer is the Jacobs Center for NonProfit Innovation, a non-profit foundation that explores and implements new ways to strengthen under-invested neighborhoods through entrepreneurial projects, hands-on learning relationships, and the creative investment of resources.

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