City to invest $40M to improve Mission Bay Park

SAN DIEGO _- San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced Wednesday that the city will invest $40 million over six years into infrastructure improvements at Mission Bay Park.

"I think it’s one of the premier regional parks," said Allen Holden, Resident.

Holden who lives in East county comes to Mission Bay Park to ride his bike.  He said in recent years, the park is showing some wear and tear.

"Some of the bike paths and some of the parking lots need better maintenance.  The bathrooms could use some help," said Holden.

$40 million in help is coming as the result of two ballot initiatives passed over the last decade to allocate money for Mission Bay Park improvements.

Proposition C in 2008 diverted a portion of park lease revenue for park upgrades and 2016's Measure J extended the Proposition C funding stream for 30 years and allowed the city to expedite certain park projects. The city estimates the two initiatives will generate roughly $1.5 billion by 2069.

"Our regional parks are among San Diego's most valuable assets and the significant investments we're making to Mission Bay Park will ensure it is preserved and enhanced for future generations to enjoy," Faulconer said. "This continues the largest park investment effort San Diego has seen in modern history as we've opened dozens of new or improved parks in neighborhoods across the city over the past few years."

"We’re looking to apply the money primarily initially to playgrounds, parking lots and restrooms," said Andy Field, Assisant Parks and Recreation Director.

Field said there are five improvement projects planned for the park. A quarter of the money will be spent on dredging Mission Bay to improve its navigational safety. Funding will also be used to resurface 18 parking lots, replace playground equipment at 10 different sections of the park, upgrade comfort stations in multiple areas and replace East Mission Bay's adult fitness course and Robb Field's recreation center.

"The money is slated to be in place for decades to come, so we’re hoping this will be the opening group of series of improvements that can really bring the park to a renaissance," said Field.

"Mission Bay Park is getting the investment of a century with a wave of voter-approved funding," said District 2 City Councilwoman Lorie Zapf, whose district includes Mission Bay. "From dredging, lighting, comfort stations, bike and walking paths and new playgrounds, Mission Bay Park will better serve San Diegans and visitors."

Long-term, the city plans to restore falling shorelines, improve the San Diego River Trail, expand habitats for endangered species and compose a master environmental report to detail the environmental and water quality ramifications of proposed projects. The Mission Bay Park Committee will oversee the array of improvements and the allocation of funding.

"In future years we expect the fund will generate $6.5 - 7 million annually, so we really expect there to be a lot of improvements that will come continuing for many years," said Field.

"My committee and I were ecstatic that the voters of our city overwhelmingly approved Measure J," said committee Chairman Paul Robinson. "This will permit the city, with our oversight, to continue to invest millions of dollars in Mission Bay."

"I grew up in Pacific Beach," said Holden.

Holden said he's stood on the park's shores since the day it was created.  Now he can't wait to see what the future brings.

"I’ve seen it come a long way and I hope it keeps on being improved."