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Mayor Gloria Announces Parks Master Plan Update that Prioritizes Equity


Wednesday, June 2, 2021


SAN DIEGO In a push to provide a more equitable, accessible and high-quality parks system for all, Mayor Todd Gloria today launched the Parks for All of Us initiative, which includes a new draft update of the City of San Diego Parks Master Plan.

Based on years of public feedback, the initiative delivers a firm commitment to equity, includes an emphasis on acquiring new parkland, designates the Chollas Creek watershed as the newest regional park and identifies other efforts needed to ensure the plan is successfully implemented.

Everyone, no matter their background, identity, ability, or address, deserves easy access to high-quality parks and the benefits they provide, said Mayor Gloria. Historically, there was little incentive for developers to invest in parks where theyre needed most, and as a result, many of our residents have been left behind. This Parks Master Plan will right those inequities, helping create a better City for all of us.

In November 2020, based on significant input heard during the review process, the City Council asked City staff to revisit the first draft of the plan. Taking public feedback into account, staff updated the plan to increase the percentage of funding dedicated to park-deficient neighborhoods and historically underserved communities.

Residents and stakeholders also asked for a greater focus on continued acquisition of new parkland. The draft plan includes a specific goal of obtaining 100 new acres within 10 years of its adoption. It also prioritizes and designates new regional parks in historically underserved communities.

In researching the Parks Master Plan update, City staff recognized that many underused parks do not offer scheduled activities and programs. To encourage the development of programs, the new plan draft calls for public-private partnerships to create and facilitate programming for adults and youth.

The plan update includes 13 future implementation actions that will be taken in the early years. These actions range from creating a citywide trails master plan to making a comprehensive park-condition index and developing other engagement measures that give the community an opportunity to be more involved in the process.

Mayor Glorias Parks for All of Us initiative builds off the Parks Master Plan with a call for the City Council to take three additional actions: formally designating the Chollas Creek watershed as a regional park, adding a recreation element to the Citys land-use general plan, and establishing a citywide impact fee paid by housing developers that will allow the City to fund park projects that have stalled under the current community-based fee.

This Parks Master Plan will serve generations to come, and were proud to present a draft that is more reflective of what residents want to see in San Diegos future, said City of San Diego Planning Director Mike Hansen. After collecting and incorporating even more feedback, we feel this new plan addresses long-standing inequities and will truly create a park system that can be enjoyed by everyone.

To create the Parks Master Plan draft, staff collected input through multiple public hearings, more than a dozen workshops, surveys, pop-up events and stakeholder interviews.

The current Parks Master Plan was created in 1956. At the time, the City-owned 5,700 acres of parkland and 13 recreation centers across 38 communities. Today, the City owns and maintains more than 42,000 acres of park assets across 54 communities. This includes 58 recreation centers, 13 aquatic complexes, three municipal golf courses, four visitor and nature centers, 10 skate parks, and 17 off-leash dog areas.

To view the draft plan, visit the Parks for All of Us webpage.

The plan is expected to go before the City Council for consideration this summer.

What others are saying:

City Council President Pro Tem Stephen Whitburn, District 3:

I applaud the many San Diegans who have provided input on this plan. This has been a lengthy process with a lot of public engagement, and the community feedback has made this plan better. Im excited that this plan sets an ambitious goal of adding 100 acres of parks in the next 10 years. Everyone should have a park nearby, especially here in San Diego where the weather allows us to enjoy our parks year-round.

City Councilmember Sean Elo-Rivera, District 9:

Every person in every neighborhood should have access to quality parks. Sadly, decisions of the past have resulted in unacceptable disparities in who and what neighborhoods can enjoy the benefits of San Diegos parks. The Parks Master Plan lays the foundation for a more just future by prioritizing communities with the greatest need. From the designation of Chollas Creek as a Regional Park to an equitable funding model for parks, the Parks Master Plan will be a catalyst for social and racial justice by ensuring quality parks and recreational spaces for all."

City Councilmember Raul Campillo, District 7:

Coming out of the pandemic, we know that our citizens want more opportunities for their children, and this Parks Master Plan is a great first step towards that goal. Im excited to work with the Mayor to finalize the Citys first Parks Master Plan since 1956.

Katherine Johnston, executive director, San Diego Parks Foundation:

Parks serve as powerful conveners and social gathering places that strengthen connections between people and communities. However, years of underinvestment and neglect have created stark differences in the quantity and quality of local parks and recreation centers. The San Diego Parks Foundation is proud to support this important step forward to address these systemic inequities.