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San Ysidro, the community of 27,000 nestled near the U.S.-Mexico border, is 100 years old this year, and many community members have been planning a celebration. One of them is David Flores, the architect and urban planner whose work in San Ysidro we featured last fall.

Part of the celebration kicks off tonight: a historic photo exhibit that will document the community’s 100 years. The exhibit will be up at The Front at 147 W. San Ysidro Boulevard today through May 22, and there will be a reception tonight at 6 p.m.

It was much of Flores’ concern for preserving history in San Ysidro that caught my eye when I spent some time with him to write this story in October. The story was one in our Virtual Convening series.

More on Flores and his efforts to help the community envision its future while hanging on to its history:

He renovated a 1927 building on West San Ysidro Boulevard as a couple of apartments upstairs and The Front downstairs, a design center that houses his office and space for displaying plans and holding workshops. With Casa, Flores rescued that building, a Louis Gill design that was once the first dry goods store in town, from its former use as a smog shop. He inserted himself into the middle of a main drag in the community as a resource for business owners and residents. The building became a physical reminder that design matters in San Ysidro. …

“I’m looking at bigger issues than if I would have just stayed in architecture,” he said. “This is a community that, for a long time, felt the neglect of other places. It’s a community taking its future development in its own hands.”

The community will also celebrate with a centennial festival on Saturday, May 16 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Larsen Field in San Ysidro. For more information on any of these events, check out the website or call 619.428.1115.

KELLY BENNETT

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