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Monument honoring former South Bay Power Plant unveiled

A new monument honoring the history of the former South Bay Power Plant has been unveiled in Chula Vista.

Titled "Powering the Arts," the 25-foot high structure is partially comprised of artifacts salvaged from the site of the former plant.

The South Bay Power Plant was located on Chula Vista’s waterfront from 1958-2013. During that time, it provided essential power to thousands in the region. Hundreds of locals were employed there over the decades.

In October 2010, the California Independent System Operator notified the plant’s operator Dynegy South Bay that the plant should be taken out of service because it was no longer needed for the region’s power grid. On Feb. 2, 2013, the plant was imploded.

Artist and Chula Vista native Michael Leaf had a vision to memorialize the South Bay Power Plant.

His 25-foot-tall monument includes a large steel cylinder that previously stood at the top of the power plant. It is encircled by three curved red steel ribbons. Leaf chose the color red because to him it symbolized the fire, combustion and explosion elements used to produce the plant’s energy, and for its implosion.

Leaf’s monument also includes a custom park bench created from one of the plant’s turbine rotors. Another component is a functional artist’s easel that anyone can use. A plaque summarizing the plant’s history is installed on the easel.

The former South Bay Power Plant site is incorporated into the approved plan for the Chula Vista Bayfront Master Plan.

The 535-acre master plan includes a resort hotel and convention center, public park areas, office space and residential units. The site where the South Bay Power Plant was located will be redeveloped to include a business park, RV park and a new public park.

In February 2015, the Port of San Diego approved an exclusive negotiating agreement with RIDA Development Corp. to develop a resort hotel and convention center on the Chula Vista bayfront.

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