By Nick Stone | Guest Editorial
In a little less than seven months, the people of Mission Valley and voters throughout the city will go to the polls to decide the future of what was once the Qualcomm Stadium site.
As project manager of the SoccerCity plan, I’d like to lay out for you why our proposal is better for Mission Valley residents than the so-called “SDSU West” concept – a private development devised by local developers under the guise of a university expansion.
In crafting the SoccerCity plan, we sought to create something that delivers maximum benefit to the residents of Mission Valley while minimizing any negative impacts to the surrounding community.
We looked at a variety of issues. What do residents here want and need? How do we fulfill the community’s long-held dream of a large river park? How do we create new recreational opportunities? How can we address the impacts that occur, such as additional vehicle trips in and out of eastern Mission Valley? And how do we accomplish all of this without asking the people of Mission Valley – or San Diegans in general – for a dime of their money?
After a great deal of planning, we have designed and placed on the ballot a proposal that will have a positive impact on the community. It will transform what has become an expensive eyesore into a unique venue that Mission Valley residents can enjoy.
First, SoccerCity will create a large river park with walking and biking trails. Not only have we committed to privately fund the $40 million park, we’ll pay to maintain it for the next 99 years. While other developers in Mission Valley have traditionally shirked their responsibility to provide parks, we’ll deliver on our promise to make this open space a reality through a legally-binding agreement with the city.
By contrast, the developers behind SDSU West deliberately refused to buy the river park land. The land would remain in the city’s hands, requiring the city to build a park — with no commitment for a dime of funding in their initiative.
To preserve the football program at SDSU and to bring professional soccer to San Diego, we are proposing to build a multi-use stadium that would accommodate 33,500 fans, saving SDSU $150 million compared to building it alone.
Just as important, SoccerCity will also provide for the long-term growth of SDSU by designating 35 acres for classrooms, research facilities, and student housing. We have always planned that SoccerCity would provide space for the university to flourish for decades to come.
To give Mission Valley residents an exciting place to dine, shop and enjoy live music, we’ll also create a vibrant sports-and-entertainment district, which will be easily accessible via the existing trolley line. The SDSU West proposal includes no such concept; the community would get housing and offices, without any benefits to the neighborhood.
The SoccerCity proposal will also create new housing options — again, conveniently located along the existing trolley line. The mix of offices, restaurants and shops at SoccerCity means residents won’t have to get in their cars as often – they can live, work and play, all within walking distance.
But for those who will to have to commute, as well as those coming to watch a football game or soccer match, we will privately fund $50 million in road improvements along Friars Road and the freeway connectors. SDSU West again fails to commit to any road improvements.
And unlike SDSU West, the entire SoccerCity plan will be funded privately — without the use of a single taxpayer dollar.
Perhaps most importantly, SoccerCity’s detailed 3,000-page plan stipulates exactly what will be built on the site — unlike the vague 12-page “SDSU West” plan, which gives Sacramento politicians and appointed bureaucrats the ability to do essentially whatever they want with the property, according to the City Attorney’s independent analysis. SDSU West is not a campus expansion; it’s the same developers who are responsible for the traffic and lack of parks in Mission Valley today promoting more of the same for Mission Valley.
SoccerCity is the best plan for Mission Valley residents. For more information, go to soccercitysd.com.
— Nick Stone is the project manager for the SoccerCity initiative.