The 21-acre park is being built near E Street and Bay Boulevard just north of the Gaylord Pacific Resort and Convention Center where construction is also underway.
”Sweetwater Park will be one of most unique parks along San Diego Bay as it’s inspired by both nature and history,” said Rafael Castellanos, chairman of the Port of San Diego’s Board of Port Commissioners. “With community input, each of the elements were designed to honor the area’s wildlife and habitat.
”There are also elements honoring the Kumeyaay People’s ancestral lands both in the public art and educational signage,” he added. ”It will truly be a space for the community to feel proud of.”
The park is ”envisioned as a natural-habitat-oriented recreational open space to showcase the unique natural wildlife assets of San Diego Bay, encouraging passive recreation activities to complement the adjacent Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge,” according to a port statement.
The port and city incorporated local input on the park’s design.
”Sweetwater Park is one of the first substantial steps to building Chula Vista’s Bayfront,” Chula Vista Mayor John McCann said. ”The park will allow individuals to experience the bay and the environment around it. We want this to be the people’s Bayfront.”
Park features will include meadows and specialty gardens, nature playgrounds, seating and picnic areas, pedestrian walkways and bike paths (in addition to the Sweetwater Bicycle and Pedestrian Path that was built and opened in the spring of 2021), sand dunes, scenic overlooks, incorporation of Kumeyaay signage, public art, public restrooms and 216 parking spaces.
”Through the pandemic, we were reminded that recreational spaces are essential for social, mental and emotional well being,” said Nora Vargas, chair of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. ”Investing in Sweetwater Park helps San Diego County achieve its goal to provide spaces where community members can be physically active and thrive.”
Landscape architecture firm KTUA led the design effort for Sweetwater Park in collaboration with the port. The firm was selected for its ”extensive urban park and waterfront design expertise — with an emphasis on local landscape architecture and natural resource management experience,” port officials said.
Part of the cost for the park will be funded by a grant from the Land and Water Conservation Fund through the National Parks Service and the California Department of Parks and Recreation.
The 535-acre Chula Vista Bayfront redevelopment ”envisions a world-class destination in the South Bay — a unique place for people to live, work and play,” according to the port. Chula Vista broke ground on the Gaylord Pacific Resort and Convention Center in July 2022, a $1.35 billion project scheduled to open in 2025.
The overall Bayfront master plan calls for more than 200 acres of parks, open space, a shoreline promenade, walking trails, RV camping, shopping and dining. Projects within the master plan are also intended to establish ecological buffers to protect wildlife habitat, species and other coastal resources.
More information about the Chula Vista Bayfront can be found at portofsandiego.org/chulavistabayfront.