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Funding for Waterfront Vision Cobbled Together

Audio

Aired 7/8/09

The San Diego Port District has cobbled together financing for the first phase of the North Embarcadero Visionary Plan -- a new waterfront esplanade on San Diego Bay.

— The San Diego Port District has cobbled together financing for the first phase of the North Embarcadero Visionary Plan – a new waterfront esplanade on San Diego Bay.

The plan will create a wide pedestrian walkway along the bay near the Star of India, lined by jacarandas and palm trees. Harbor Drive will be narrowed, public rest rooms added. Dreams of beautifying the Embarcadero have been in the works for over a decade.

Waterfront activists were disappointed the original drawings of a ten acre public park at the foot of Broadway, complete with a children’s fountain, will instead be a plaza where trucks load and unload supplies for cruise ships.

But Port Chair Steve Cushman characterizes the vote as a great gift for the region.

“I’m puzzled frankly, by those who think they’ve lost a park, because I didn’t know we had a park," he says. "What we had is a four-lane busy street, and here we’re going to have a 100-foot esplanade. I don’t know why that isn’t a wonderful amenity for all. This will be a beautiful esplanade.”

The Port doesn’t actually have the money to build even the modified plan, because the Lane Field hotel development, slated to cover the costs, is on hold due to the poor economy. So the City of San Diego’s redevelopment agency, CCDC, will lend the Port $8 million of the $14 million it needs to get started on what’s been called “San Diego’s front porch.”

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