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San Diego’s Bayfront Parks At Stake

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Citizen activists accuse the San Diego Port District of reneging on a promise to build an oval waterfront public park on the Embarcadero downtown. They take their appeal to the California Coastal Commission today.

Citizen activists accuse the San Diego Port District of reneging on a promise to build an oval waterfront public park on the Embarcadero downtown. They take their appeal to the California Coastal Commission today.

The Port District has already gained Coastal Commission blessing to build a cruise ship terminal at the foot of Broadway. The issue now is the North Embarcadero Visionary Plan, which calls for wide pedestrian walkways and a concrete plaza next to the pier.

Waterfront watchdogs say this plaza has replaced original plans for a ten acre public park. Port Commissioner Steve Cushman was dismissive at a recent meeting.

“I don’t even remember this,” Cushman said, “ I think what they may be talking about is the park which we will put in by the Old Police Station, and remember the County and Ron Roberts are still talking about a park on the County facility, so I think there will be plenty of park by the time this is over.”

But Don Wood, one of those who filed the appeal to the Coastal Commission, characterizes this as bait and switch tactics.

“Mr. Cushman needs to go back and look at the 2001 North Embarcadero Visionary plan” Wood says, “and the drawings in the Environmental Impact Report that clearly show a large, grand oval Broadway park at the foot of Broadway, with fountains, leading out onto an open, public Broadway pier.”

The North Embarcadero Visionary Plan has been in the works for more than a decade. It is made up of several major development projects, including the Navy Broadway Complex and Lane Field. Coastal Commission staff say “piece mealing” the permits for each project threatens to change the overall vision.

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