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SoccerCity Gets No Support From San Diego River Park Foundation

Qualcomm Stadium, now the SDCCU Stadium, is pictured in this undated photogra...

Credit: Milan Kovacevic

Above: Qualcomm Stadium, now the SDCCU Stadium, is pictured in this undated photograph.

The nonprofit San Diego River Park Foundation has been fighting for years to preserve land along the San Diego River, but the agency does not think the SoccerCity plan helps it reach the foundation’s goal.

SoccerCity hopes to buy the Mission Valley stadium site to build a sports stadium, housing, commercial space and a river park. The developers hope to leverage that multi-billion dollar redevelopment effort to lure a Major League Soccer franchise to the city.

The San Diego River Park Foundation board of directors is urging voters to cast no votes on the November ballot initiative, according to the foundation's Executive Director Rob Hutsel.

After making its decision, the foundation issued the following statement:

“Some time ago, the San Diego River Park Foundation adopted a position that any redevelopment of the stadium site should include at least 10 acres of enhancements for the San Diego River and Murphy Canyon Creek and a 50-acre public river park, which includes an extension of the regional San Diego River trail (5-acre linear park), 15 acres to celebrate the river with water elements, and a 30-acre park with active and passive play areas, a recreation center, and other amenities for the community. It is important that any proposal for the future of this important city asset contain the vision of a minimum of 60 acres for nature and the public.”

Photo by Erik Anderson

A group calling itself GoalSD kicks off a signature drive for Soccer City San Diego, March 15, 2017.

The statement went on to say that while FS Investors agreed to meet that standard, the commitment was not legally binding.

SoccerCity backers are disappointed with the vote, especially since two prominent backers of the competing SDSU West initiative sit on the foundation board of directors and took part in the debate and vote.

SDSU West’s principal backer, Jack McGrory, sits on the panel. So does Thomas Sudberry, one of the two principal people funding the two-year-old No On SoccerCity effort.

“Having people who spend millions and millions of dollars to oppose SoccerCity and avoid competition sit on the body determining the park, particularly when that same group of people are people who for the last three decades to build anywhere near enough parks for the Mission Valley community, feels like a real conflict that should at some point been resolved by that group before they got to this position,” said Nick Stone of FS Investors.

The River Park Foundation Board will consider whether to endorse the SDSU West plan next month.

The San Diego River Park Foundation is speaking out against the SoccerCity measure on the November ballot.

KPBS is a service of San Diego State University.

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Erik Anderson
Environment Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI focus on the environment and all the implications that a changing or challenging environment has for life in Southern California. That includes climate change, endangered species, habitat, urbanization, pollution and many other topics.

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