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County Moves Ahead on Embarcadero Park

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San Diego County Supervisors have approved a contract to begin work on a major new public park along San Diego’s downtown bay front.

San Diego County supervisors have approved a contract to begin work on a major new public park along San Diego’s downtown bay front.

San Diego’s Embarcadero has sparked visionary plans for decades. But efforts to redesign the waterfront have met numerous financial and political hurdles.

Now the supervisors have approved almost $4 million to demolish an annex building, and complete designs to replace asphalt parking lots with fountains and green space.

Members of citizen groups involved in waterfront planning praised the county for moving ahead. But they questioned why the county had dropped out of a Joint Powers Authority working on the Embarcadero "Visionary Plan".

County Supervisor Ron Roberts acknowledged the county is acting on its own, rather than coordinating with efforts by the Port of San Diego and other agencies to improve the whole waterfront.

“I think things will come together,” Roberts said. “I hope that the completion of this really influences - beyond our boundaries - the things that happen to the north and south of us.”

The port has recently approved plans to beautify a section of the Embarcadero south of the County Administration building. It has yet to be approved by the California Coastal Commission. The county’s plan already has coastal commission approval.

The county will pay $1.2 million to upgrade the design of the park to conserve more water. The contract to demolish an annex building north of the administration building is $2.6 million dollars.

Roberts said he hopes the new park will enhance the value of the administration building.

Supervisor Dianne Jacob had questions about whether county employees and the public would still be able to park for free when the county’s existing parking lot moves to Kettner Street, east of Pacific Highway.

The total estimated cost of the park is about $40 million. Jacob said the annual cost of paying off bonds to pay for the park will be about $4 million, and that will not include operation and maintenance costs.

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