California State Parks to Construct a New Outdoor Space at Old Town San Diego

| October 3, 2018 | 0 Comments

Left to right are: John Elliott from Manzanita Band/Kumeyaay Diegueño Land Conservancy, Caltrans District 11 Director Cory Binns, San Diego City Councilmember Chris Ward, Del Sur Sector State Park Superintendent Richard Dennison, Tina Meza from Jamul Band and Board member for Kumeyaay Diegueño Land Conservancy, Senator President pro Tempore Toni Atkins, Kumeyaay elder Ernest “Chuka” Pingleton, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, (Kumeyaay rep), Assemblymember Todd Gloria, former Senator Christine Kehoe, and Vice Chair of Old Town San Diego Chamber of Commerce Chuck Ross.

California State Parks and Senator President pro Tempore Toni Atkins hosted a press conference at 10 a.m. Monday, September 24, to announce the transformation of a Caltrans’ District 11 Office Complex (Complex) in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park (Old Town) into a new public open space, located at 2829 Juan Street in Old Town.

For over 20 years, California State Parks has been working with partners, Caltrans, the Old Town community, Old Town Chamber of Commerce and Native American tribal communities to make this project come to life. The new open space is expected to open fall 2019. Visitors will have the opportunity to connect with nature, family and friends, and learn about Old Town’s residents and the Kumeyaay people and their relationship to the San Diego River.

Beginning in October, California State Parks will begin demolition of the former Complex built in 1952. The structures will be removed from this approximately 2.5-acre area to create a new public open space.

With a budget of nearly $5.9 million, the new outdoor space will include:
• Interpretive elements such as a Native American public gathering area, ?displays and art features, lighting, and benches.
• Basic landscaping such as native trees, shrubs and ground covering, and bio-swale.
• Enhanced pedestrian circulation system with stabilized accessible pathways.
• Shaded ramadas.
• Parking, including accessible spaces.

Significant work is needed for demolition of the over 100,000 square feet of the former Complex, which will include the removal of hazardous material from inside the buildings.

The project will include numerous mitigation measures in compliance with the final CEQA documents including but, not limited to, dust control and monitoring of all ground-disturbing activities by a qualified archaeologist and a Native American monitor.

California State Parks is working with the Kumeyaay Nation who developed the Old Town Working Group with representatives from the Kumeyaay Diegueño Land Conservancy, Kumeyaay Heritage Preservation Committee, Kumeyaay Cultural Repatriation Committee, and tribal members from the Barona, Campo, Jamul, Manzanita, Mesa Grande, San Pasqual, Sycuan, and Viejas bands of the Kumeyaay Nation. The Old Town Working Group is instrumental in providing an opportunity for the Kumeyaay Nation to interpret their culture and their connections to the San Diego River and Old Town San Diego.

For more information on the new open space and the construction project, visit www.parks.ca.gov/CaltransComplex.

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