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Bayfront plan is missing something Peter Watry | Sat, Apr 14 2012 12:00 PM

Crossroads II is trying its level best to get the “signature park” put back into the Chula Vista Bayfront Plan before it goes to the Coastal Commission in July.  What happened to the signature park that was in the original design approved in 2004?

Let me try and describe what you would see if you took a look at the map for that original plan, the “Harbor Park Alternative” of the Chula Vista Bayfront Plan. This was the plan originally approved by the council and the port before Gaylord Hotels showed up. You would note a large elliptical signature park right about where Bayside Park and the RV park is now. That was to be the attraction to get people by the hundreds to come to the bayfront, for 5K runs, rallies for causes, art exhibits, outdoor concerts, etc., etc.  And gradually it was hoped that that would get businesses to come in, and get enough development going to eventually attract hotels. Hotels are normally the last to come in. Now, take a pair of imaginary scissors and cut out the signature park.

Next, look at the map for the “Sweetwater Park Alternative.” When Gaylord Hotels showed up, it wanted the space where the signature park was, and so the signature park was moved to the north end of the bayfront, near the entrance to the Wildlife Refuge and Nature Center.  As you look at the new map, you would note the footprint for the very large Gaylord Hotel.  Gaylord was a godsend — they would have brought their own clientele, mid-sized conventions. Gaylord would be the attraction that would attract businesses right off the bat. Gaylord would have assured the success of the bayfront. Now — take a pair of imaginary scissors and cut out the Gaylord footprint, they have left for greener pastures.

And what do you have left for an attraction? You remove both the signature park and Gaylord and you’ve got a very large dirt lot. You got nothin’. You got zip.  Gaylord Hotels has removed itself. The signature park was removed by the secret agreement between the Port District and the Environmental Health Coalition which put such severe restrictions on the use of the signature park as to make it useless in its northern location.

Crossroads II is trying the best it can to get the city and the port to make some minimal adjustments in the park’s original location so that the bayfront park will have at least one attraction to begin with.

Watry is the vice president of Crossroads II in Chula Vista.

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Jerry Thomas Says:

Sat, Apr 14 2012 12:16 PM

Eero Saarinen, the famous architect who designed the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, has a great quote "Always design a thing by considering it in the next larger context" a chair in a room, a room in a house, a house in an environment, and an environment in a city plan.

He got it right. The point being how people use space should be the basis of design. We need to create places for people to go to and interact with their surroundings, not just big buildings. This design gives us a sense of place. It is what we love about Chula Vista and why we chose to live here.

We need to decide what our quality of life at our Chula Vista Bayfront will be. The people in our community need a signature park, a place where people can enjoy life. It will make the Bayfront more enjoyable and beautiful.

The development of our Bayfront should give ALL of our people equitable access to the natural environment. A signature park, our common ground, is a good place to start.
---Jerry Thomas

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