SAN DIEGO–For the first time in more than 60 years, the City of San Diego is releasing a draft document outlining the future of the city’s parks and recreation system to expand opportunities to “Play Everywhere” for everyone. Now city leaders are asking for the public’s input before finalizing the plan.
“As we continue to navigate a global health pandemic, we have seen just how valuable our neighborhood parks really are,” said Mayor Kevin Faulconer. “This push to improve our parks for the next generation will create an interconnected, equitable, and sustainable park system for all San Diegans to enjoy. And we want every San Diegan to have a say in what it will look like so we’re asking everyone to share their thoughts about the future of our parks.”
The new Parks Master Plan is focused on increasing access to all parks for everyone, regardless of their income, age, race, ability or geographic location. It also aims to improve and upgrade existing parks and gives the City the ability to deliver new parks faster.
During a nearly three-year planning effort, Planning Department staff held regional workshops, stakeholder interviews and conducted resident surveys in each City Council district. They found that while residents were generally happy with their existing parks, they would like to see more upgrades and amenities in those parks.
“It’s so important for all residents to have an enjoyable place to play, relax, and connect. This plan will enable the city to deliver that vision faster,” said Mike Hansen, the city’s Planning Director. “We are committed to delivering parks that meet the needs of every single neighborhood in the city.”
The Parks Master Plan is also seen as a new type of park system since it accounts for new growth patterns driven by the city’s Climate Action Plan.
Currently, the city bases parks’ standards solely off the number of acres provided. The new plan, however, proposes a system that considers the value a park delivers to residents, taking into account proposed amenities and recreational activities. Features like those help attract and keep people at the park longer. Parks are for people, and this updated plan envisions city parks that contribute to everyone’s overall well-being and enjoyment.
“San Diego is home to one of the largest and most diverse park systems in the nation, and we are very excited for the release of the city’s updated Parks Master Plan,” said Andy Field, the City’s Parks and Recreation Department Director. “The plan will help identify, direct and prioritize park improvements to meet the recreation needs of future generations and help make San Diego’s world-class park system a destination for residents and tourists alike.”
The Parks Master Plan is part of the Complete Communities Initiative. It focuses on housing, mobility choices, infrastructure and public open spaces such as parks to deliver on the city’s long-held vision of quality neighborhoods that are diverse, walkable, connected, safe and sustainable.
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 52 communities. This includes 57 recreation centers, 13 aquatic complexes, three municipal golf courses, seven skate parks and 17 off-leash dog areas.
To view the draft plan and submit comments, the public can visit the city’s Complete Communities: Play Everywhere webpage. Comments must be submitted by May 25, 2020.
The plan is expected to go before the City Council for approval later this year.