Thursday, November 5, 2015 - NEWS RELEASE
San Diego - In line with his mission to build One San Diego and put neighborhoods first, today Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer joined the Urban Corps of San Diego County and many government, civic and community leaders to celebrate the completion of the Chicano Park Recreation Improvement Project.
Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer said, "Parks, streets and infrastructure are a priority for San Diegans, so I've made it a priority at City Hall. Growing from a seed idea at the city, this project creatively brought state resources into Barrio Logan, making it a shining example of San Diego collaboration and our love for our neighborhoods. With these improvements, we will continue to relish Chicano Park as an iconic destination of Mexican-American art and culture."
City Councilmember David Alvarez said, "Chicano Park exemplifies the broad cultural, political, economic and social history of the community and I am proud to have this region-wide treasure in my Council District. The collaborative effort involved to make these recreational park improvements happen is to be commended. I would especially like to thank the California Department of Housing and Community Development for this grant and for the Chicano Park Steering Committee for their years of dedication and service to the community." Robert Chávez, Chief Executive Officer for Urban Corps said, "Urban Corps is honored to have helped provide Chicano Park with much-anticipated recreational improvements. This has been a phenomenal learning experience for the youth in our program, and we are so grateful to both the City of San Diego and the Chicano Park Steering Committee for all the widespread support they offered us throughout the life of this project."
The City of San Diego partnered with Urban Corps, a non-profit youth training organization, to obtain a $1.08 million grant from the California Department of Housing and Community Development to construct recreational improvements to Chicano Park. The program, made possible by Proposition 1C, is designed to encourage cities to develop and approve new affordable housing, such as nearby Mercado del Barrio, by rewarding cities with grant funds for park infrastructure.
The Chicano park improvements include renovations throughout the recreational area at Logan Avenue and Cesar Chavez Blvd. These improvements include a new handball court with decorative stamped concrete, 10 pieces of adult fitness equipment and a new drinking fountain. In addition to these changes, turf was removed to conserve water and a decomposed granite zone took its place, which is designed for organized workouts. In the central region of the park, the playgrounds received a complete overhaul. A Chicano heritage theme was incorporated into the equipment design in two play areas, which was inspired by the nearby kiosko where Aztec dancers and Ballet Folklorico groups practice and perform daily. A much-anticipated safety upgrade to the playgrounds was the removal of sand, which was replaced with colorful rubberized surfacing, also designed to coincide with the kiosko's Aztec/Mayan heritage theme. In the plazita area adjacent to the Mercado del Barrio Apartments, a new landscape area was created complete with bioswale, drought tolerant plants, trees, decorative boulders and a pedestrian pathway. Urban Corps worked with artist Raul Jaquez to restore the sculpture and tiling of Chicano Park's showpiece fountain. Finally, a world-class skate area was built from the ground up and features five large concrete elements, including opposing quarter pipes and a ramp inspired by a low-rider.
In addition to the City's effort, Urban Corps brought in an additional $112,000 in grant funding to leverage the Prop 1C funds: $60,000 from Shea Properties, $42,000 from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and $10,000 from the Tony Hawk Foundation. In addition, a number of vendors offered discounted rates or in-kind materials as a show of support for the community, including South Bay Fence, BJs Rentals, PW Unlimited and Greenfields Outdoor Fitness Equipment.
The three-acre Chicano Park, a landmark cultural and recreational resource in Barrio Logan, came about after a months-long protest in 1970 by Chicano activists when plans for the recreational area were nearly set aside to make way for a California Highway Patrol station. Chicano Park secured a spot on the National Register of Historic Places in 2013 thanks to efforts from volunteer members of the Chicano Park Steering Committee.
CONTACT: Charles Chamberlayne at (619) 453-9911 or [email protected]