A computer rendering of the amphitheater in Civita's centerpiece park. Courtesy Sudberry Properties
A computer rendering of the amphitheater in Civita’s centerpiece park. Courtesy Sudberry Properties

Sudberry Properties started construction Tuesday on the centerpiece, 14-acre park in the Civita urban-style village in Mission Valley.

The multi-level park, which cascades down the former quarry site, incorporates ideas from hundreds of local residents and features an amphitheater, community garden, basketball courts, walking trail, dog park and playgrounds.

“Civita Park is the unifying element of Civita,” said Mark K. Radelow, vice president/senior project manager at Sudberry. “It will serve as the heart of the community and the main gathering spot. Trails will link the park to the surrounding neighborhoods, providing easy access to all residents.”

The park will be built in phases, with the first two totaling about 10 acres and taking approximately 16 months.

“Phase I is planned to include a large central plaza that accommodate a variety of active and passive activities,” Radelow said. “It is also designed with rose gardens, a military tribute with a 100-foot-tall flagpole, an outdoor grassy amphitheater with a dramatic stage design, a recirculating interactive water feature and a game area with chess, ping pong and other activities. The plaza is accented by a number of vine-covered shaded trellis areas”

Other areas now under construction will feature a large open field for casual sports play, two basketball half courts and a community garden. The southern and eastern border of the park will have a formal tree-sheltered promenade.

A dry streambed and walking trail is designed to run the length of the park along the western edge of the site. Work is also proceeding at the top of the property with passive parkland and a dog park for large and small dogs.

Future phases of Civita Park will include separate children’s play areas for toddlers and youngsters, a plaza that will showcase equipment from the site’s mining past, a tree-shaded picnic grove, interpretive gardens crisscrossed with trails, scenic lookouts and restrooms.

“We’re confident that this park will become the center of community life,” said Marco A. Sessa, senior vice president, Sudberry Properties. “It will have something for everyone, cool places to meditate, fly a kite, play basketball or bocce, or attend a community concert.”

Civita combines proximity to shopping and restaurants with trolley access to downtown San Diego, Old Town and Qualcomm Stadium.  The community is being developed over the next 10-15 years with an emphasis on sustainability.

Long-range plans for the 230-acre urban village call for 4,780 homes and apartments, a multi-level park, approximately 480,000 square feet for a lifestyle retail center and 420,000 square feet for an office/business campus.

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.