12-acre waterfront park opens downtown; some water issues follow
After two years of construction, the keenly anticipated County Administration Center waterfront park was opened to the public last Saturday. The opening included a ribbon-cutting, dancing, music and fireworks.
The administration offices for San Diego County was originally built during the 1930’s. Part of the plans at that time was a waterfront park, but it was not included in the actual construction. After almost 80 years, the idea for the park was re-visited and construction began in 2012 on the $50 million project.
County Supervisor Greg Cox said, “This park is the new showpiece of the North Embarcadero. The county’s dream for a park encircling our County Administration Building has finally come true, and it will become a destination in itself for residents and visitors alike.”
Among the features of the 12-acre park are an 830 feet long fountain with 31 water jets to propel 14 feet of water upward then into a kids’ splashing pond; three beautiful gardens, containing plants that can withstand drought conditions; a big playground; and a gigantic lawn where two paved parking lots once were, now replaced with underground parking for the County buildings.
A very special speaker at the opening ceremonies was the daughter-in-law of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Mary Roosevelt. FDR had presided over the dedication of the County Center in 1938, and his son, James had rededicated the site in 1988.
A few days after the grand opening a problem occurred with the large fountain, and the water was turned off. Apparently, a backup of mud in the drainage of the splash pond led to partial flooding. After draining the pond, it was found that the backup of decomposed granite and mud required back-flushing of the pond. The fountain was turned on shortly thereafter, but kept in what was described as “reflection mode”. A permanent fix for the situation is being investigated by County maintenance personnel.