The squeaking of swings, the pounding of running feet and the sound of laughter can once again be heard at an iconic Barrio Logan landmark, with the completion of the Chicano Park Recreation Improvement Project. On November 5, 2015, city leaders and members of the community unveiled renovations to the beloved, historic recreational gathering spot.
“Chicano Park was born from the vein of community empowerment and self-expression,” said Councilman David Alvarez, District 8. “And it continues to be cared for by a robust group of citizens committed to ongoing advocacy and preservation. The completion of this project is an opportunity to acknowledge this longstanding tradition of cooperative strength and volunteer stewardship.”
Improvements to the three-acre park were the result of a $1.08 million grant from the California Department of Housing and Community Development, awarded to the City in 2012. Proposition 1C, which made enhancements to the park possible, was designed to encourage cities to develop and approve new affordable housing by rewarding cities grant funds for park infrastructure.
Urban Corps of San Diego County was contracted to implement the grant. A non-profit youth job training organization, Urban Corps offers at-risk youth an opportunity to learn construction and landscaping skills while earning a high school diploma. The group was responsible for outreach, planning, design and construction of the Park’s new and improved facilities.
“Urban Corps is honored to have helped to provide Chicano Park with much-anticipated recreational improvements,” said Urban Corps Chief Executive Officer Robert Chavez. “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.”
Construction began in October 2014. Improvements to the park which was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2013, and is on the California Register of Historical Resources, include new playground equipment for children, a handball court, new exercise equipment, a skate park, restoration of a fountain, improved lighting and drought resistant landscaping which meets the City’s climate action goals.
“It’s been a pleasure to watch the Chicano Park project unfold,” said Mayor Faulconer, “growing from a seed idea at the City that creatively brought State resources into Barrio Logan to better this treasured community resource. The result has been a shining example of teamwork at its finest, actively bridging contributions from local voices with Urban Corps’s effective youth job training model. This park has always been a source of pride and beacon standing for Chicano culture and public art. Today its recreational resources can stand just as tall.”