San Diego County’s Board of Supervisors took the next step Tuesday in a decade-long trek to build a waterfront park around the County Administration Center, the site at 1600 Pacific Highway where most county business is conducted and where the supervisors meet.
The supervisors voted unanimously to approve financing documents for the project and to create almost $30 million in bonds, also called certificates of participation, to pay for its construction.
Costs of the project will total about $44 million. On top of the $30 million from bonds, another $9 million has been paid for by the county’s general fund, according to county staff. The remaining $5 million will be funded by a tax sharing agreement between the county and the Centre City Development Corp., the city of San Diego’s redevelopment agency.
Although redevelopment agencies across the state are in jeopardy, abolishment of CCDC would not impact the waterfront park plans, said Joan Pan, the county's debt finance manager. The county has already secured its money from CCDC, so it would not risk losing it.
“I’m so glad the governor didn’t steal all of the money,” said Board Chairman Bill Horn during Tuesday’s meeting.
Plans for the waterfront project call for parking surrounding the administration building to move to an underground garage, leaving room to convert the 8 acres of parking lots into a public park. The park will include a play area, garden rooms and a fountain that will double as a children's swimming pool.
Supervisor Ron Roberts, who has led the effort to finance the project, said the first supervisors to occupy their building 73 years ago would be “very proud to see what’s happening here today.”
“It will be a dream, one that hosts and inspires tens of thousands each year and for generations to come,” he said.
Roberts also said the supervisors undertook the project “deliberately and with care,” which is why it took almost 10 years to precipitate.
But, he said, these careful steps allowed the county to sell its bonds on an entirely fixed-rate basis at a “historically low” rate.
“There will be no surprise bills for taxpayers or headaches for elected officials who may follow us,” he said.
The contract for the project will be awarded this fall, and construction is scheduled to begin in spring 2012 and finish in spring 2013.
“I can’t wait to see it get done,” Horn said. “I hope I’m around when it gets done.”
1600 Pacific Hwy.
San Diego, CA 92101
May 14, 2014 -- Reporter Carlos Rico highlights some of the improvements along Harbor Drive that are transforming the look and feel of the San Diego waterfront.
In this final segment, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders turns the podium over to County Supervisor Ron Roberts, and also discusses local water and environmental issues.