South county leaders celebrate the 25th anniversary of the South County Economic Development Council. Photo by Chris Jennewein
South county leaders celebrate the 25th anniversary of the South County Economic Development Council. Photo by Chris Jennewein

South San Diego County celebrated 25 years of economic development Thursday with cakes, a crowd of business and political leaders, and a time capsule to be placed in a new development.

The event at Otay Ranch Town Center marked the 25th anniversary of the South County Economic Development Council, a public-private group that sought to develop what was once a “field of dreams” south of San Diego.

“The South County Economic Development Council is a force to be reckoned with, not only in South County, but in the whole San Diego Region,” said Supervisor Greg Cox, who helped organize the group and briefly served as its executive director.

Current President and CEO Cindy Gompper-Graves said that South County “understands the dynamics of a bi-national region” and is exploiting the relatively large amount of undeveloped land. She predicted that over the next 25 years, the area would see a new four-year university and both Otay Mesa and San Ysidro would be built out.

“It’s South County’s turn,” she said. “I think South County is going to boom.”

The organization has just released the results of its visioning project, which produced a five-year plan for economic development.

Political, business and civic leaders brought mementos to include in a time capsule, which is to be buried nearby in the planned Millenia project, a 210-acre, $4 billion development. Representatives from SeaWorld San Diego, San Diego International Airport, Southwestern College, the City of Rosarita and many others dropped off items, and many of the several hundred people present added their business cards.

“The South County is going to rise again,” said National City Mayor Ron Morrison.

Cindy Gompper-Graves, president and CEO of the South County Economic Development Council, with the time capsule. Photo by Chris Jennewein
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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.