East Village Green, a $52M city park, on track to open in the summer of 2022
Barring unforeseen complications, the city plans to hire a construction firm to break ground on the long-awaited urban park in the summer
With East Village Green, downtown San Diego’s fast-growing residential population will by the summer of 2022 have access to a city park like no other — should the ambitious makeover of several rundown East Village blocks stay on schedule.
Wednesday, the city’s Active Transportation and Infrastructure Committee unanimously moved consideration of the park’s $52.3 million, phase-one budget to the full City Council for final review in mid-December. That means, barring unforeseen complications with contracts, the city can progress with its plan to hire a construction firm to break ground in the summer and complete work two years later.
Not your average city park, East Village Green will eventually take over the four acres that make up one entire downtown block (the west block) and the adjacent double block (the east block) between 13th, F, 15th and G streets.
During the first phase of the project, all of the west block and pieces of the east block, or about two acres in total, will be developed. The city will need to acquire the rest of the site — including the lot where Smart & Final operates and the large SDG&E plant at 14th and F — should it wish to bring the full vision to fruition.
Still, the initial phase comes with an 8,500 square-foot children’s play area and interactive water feature, an 11,000 square-foot event lawn alongside a performance pavilion designed for outdoor concerts, downtown’s first neighborhood community center, a paid parking garage, two cafe buildings, two dog parks, outdoor games and a more pedestrian-friendly version of 14th Street that will be closed to car traffic on weekends.
East Village Green’s origin dates to 2004, when downtown’s community plan was being updated. The plan was approved in 2006. Although the city immediately started acquiring plots of land, forward progress was tripped up by the Great Recession and complications associated with the dissolution of downtown’s redevelopment agency.
“I want to make sure we are keeping this on track ... so that we can finally see this long-awaited community benefit realized,” said Councilman Chris Ward, whose district includes the park site. “I do not want to see any more delays.”
The bulk of the project, or $30.5 million, is being financed through developer impact fees. Remaining funds are coming from revenue generated by downtown parking meters and garages, excess proceeds from redevelopment bonds and a grant from the San Diego Association of Governments. The city anticipates spending $45.4 million on construction, and $6.9 million on staff time and permitting fees.
Once the City Council approves the budget, Civic San Diego will advertise for construction bids and award a contract by June. The agency will continue to manage the project as part of its role in overseeing the wind down of redevelopment activities.
Sign up for the Pacific Insider newsletter
PACIFIC magazine delivers the latest restaurant and bar openings, festivals and top concerts, every Tuesday.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Pacific San Diego.