By Jeff Clemetson | Editor
A proposed park along the San Diego River at the site of the Town and Country Resort & Convention Center is a step closer to being built after the Mission Valley Planning Group voted unanimously to approve the park plan at its Aug. 3 meeting.
The 4.33-acre park will be built along 7.71 acres of restored river habitat and replace an existing asphalt parking lot at the north end of the Town and Country property.
The design of the park relied partially on community input at several public meetings where participants considered a number of possible layouts, themes and amenities for the park.
“The design was influenced by three design narratives selected through the community design process,” said Lowe Enterprises vice president Todd Majcher. “These narratives reflect both the natural and development history of the San Diego River and are woven into the wayfinding signage and passive experiential moments located throughout the park.”
The park will be on both sides of the San Diego River and connected by a new bridge between Town and Country and the Fashion Valley Transit Center.
“The north side provides an opportunity to serve the adjacent transit station and includes a gateway to the overall park experience,” Majcher said. “The south side provides for unique interpretive components and plazas. All of these spaces are connected by the San Diego River Pathway and pedestrian paths.”
The park design will also incorporate the use of natural materials and integrate benches, picnic areas and informal play areas that reflect the park’s passive nature and relationship to the San Diego River, Majcher said.
The Mission Valley Community Planning Group and Park Ad Hoc Committee unanimously supported the project and also discussed a desire to encourage MTS to work with the city and Town and Country to add to the aesthetics of the park by further enhancing the structural columns that hold up the Fashion Valley trolley tracks through the potential use of lighting or art work.
The proposed park project will now go before the Park and Recreation board sometime in the fall of this year. Majcher said he then expects the park plan to be reviewed by the Planning Commission and City Council, also by the end of 2016.
“We would like to begin park construction, as well as the enhancement and restoration of the river, in the spring of next year,” he said. “We estimate a 12-month construction process with completion in spring of 2018.”
Majcher said he is “very excited” to bring the park to fruition and was especially proud of the collaborative nature of designing it.
“We want to thank the Mission Valley community for participating in the design process,” he said. “We would also like to thank Robin Shifflet and Craig Hooker with the city of San Diego for their support and leadership. In addition, we would also like to thank Rob Hutsel with the San Diego River Park Foundation for his vision, guidance and enduring support for the San Diego River.”
—Reach Jeff Clemetson at firstname.lastname@example.org.