SAN DIEGO — After a five-month pause, plans are back on for U.S. Customs and Border Protection to replace old border walls along the U.S.-Mexico border where Friendship Park is located.
After months of outreach and feedback, the agency announced it would be resuming plans to construct the new border walls in early 2023. CBP says the area is in need of repair and updates to provide better security.
Thirty-foot walls like the ones visible from many parts of the border would be extended through Friendship Park with the exception of a small area that will dip down to the current height of 18 feet.
Friends of Friendship Park, a community group vehemently opposed to these changes, says the gesture to leave one portion at 18 feet is not enough. They want the current 18-foot walls repaired, not replaced.
A statement from the group Wednesday reads in part:
“If implemented as proposed this plan will further desecrate the binational character of the park and undermine cross border connection and friendship between the United States and Mexico.”
“I think there is pros and cons to both sides. I do think it is a disservice to people who really use that park in order to see their family. It does a disservice to the views. I lived here my entire life and I use these back trails all the time,” Nestor resident Billie Driver said.
CBP says after the project is completed it is committed to providing visitors with access to Friendship Park and their family and friends on the Mexico side of the border during designated times through a gate in the secondary barrier.
CBP says it will also restore the binational garden, which community groups say will be destroyed during construction.