CHULA VISTA, Calif. – Some Chula Vista residents are not giving up trying to get Harborside Park reopened after it closed last August.
“Number one, the park is important and number two, the high-density housing creates more problems in the long run,” Laura Douglas said.
Chula Vista residents of all ages attended a neighborhood meeting Thursday strategizing on how to save Harborside Park. Mayor John McCann was also there.
“I believe we should be increasing park land in this community and not lowering it,” McCann said.
Harborside Park closed August 31, 2022, after concern over public safety like drugs and crime in the area, but also homelessness. The park is notably next to an elementary school.
Months of planning went into how to reopen the park, but in May, Councilmember Andrea Cardenas proposed the city to research the park’s potential for housing under the Surplus Land Act with a condition to build a community center as well.
That proposal passed 4-to-1, with McCann the only councilmember in opposition.
“It definitely came out of left field. We had met with the community. The number one thing they wanted to do was reopen the park and make it safe,” McCann said.
Councilmember Cardenas’ office sent FOX 5 a statement reading in part:
“As a city, it is our responsibility to explore every tool and opportunity we have in order to provide real, long-lasting improvements to the community.”
“We deserve parks here, it’s not really fair that my mom has to take me out of the city so I can kick a ball or play catch with my brothers,” Javier Torres said.
Harborside Park, which has now been closed for almost a year, is one of the only options for residents in this part of town, but they say they aren’t giving up.
“We don’t know where we stand, so it is only hope, we’re living by hope,” Leticia Lares said.
Since that May, vote directing city staff to look into housing options for the park land, the item of the park has not been on the agenda, and as of now, there is no timeline for when it will be discussed again.