By Anna Ponting
[Editor’s note: This op-ed first appeared on the Voice of San Diego website on March 6.]
Ten years ago, I wrote an opinion piece for Voice of San Diego arguing against building a new Chargers stadium. It was 2009, and we were plunging deeper into the recession. The numbers just didn’t add up. Rereading the column today, some of my points were naïve — maybe appropriately so for a high school student. But I did get some things right. I predicted that “since football has become more of a business than a sport, the Chargers will undoubtedly follow the laws of the market and choose the most profitable location.”
Now, with the stadium site open for redevelopment, San Diegans must envision a transformation for Mission Valley. Measure G unlocked the possibility of the university’s expansion, a proposal appropriately ambitious for the site’s strategic location. It promises to bring a sense of place to what is now a sprawling sea of asphalt. Most importantly, it is rooted in advancing San Diego’s civic assets.
Yes, the development will benefit SDSU. But the 170-acre plan also has notable community benefits. Half of the area will be dedicated to parks and open space, including a 34-acre river park with four miles of pedestrian and cycling trails. For a city that always lacked a relationship with its river, this is unprecedented. Moreover, the environmentally sensitive design will work with, not against, the natural floodplain.
To read the rest of the article, visit voiceofsandiego.org/topics/opinion/sdsus-mission-valley-plan-is-inspired-which-is-why-officials-should-be-transparent-about-it.
— Anna Ponting grew up in San Diego and is pursuing a joint master’s degree in public policy and business administration from the Harvard Kennedy School and the Harvard Business School.