Previously restored section of Chollas Creek
A previously restored section of Chollas Creek. Courtesy City of San Diego

The city and a nonprofit partner will use a $3.5 million grant to turn a major section of concrete-lined Chollas Creek into a natural waterway with hiking and biking trails.

The project will remove the 50-foot-wide concrete channel along 2,000 feet of Chollas Creek parallel to Federal Boulevard between Home Avenue and Interstate 805. It will be replaced with a multi-use pedestrian and bicycle trail with native shade trees, informational signage and wildlife viewing opportunities.

“Chollas Creek is a key natural asset for communities but has historically been neglected. This funding represents the local, state, and federal partnerships helping to restore the creek according to the vision of the residents,” said City Council President Georgette Gómez. “Chollas Creek has been a priority of mine from the beginning and I am excited to see this investment in its future,”

The work is being done in partnership with Groundwork San Diego-Chollas Creek using a grant from the California Natural Resources Agency.

The environmental project represents a portion of a larger vision to revitalize the Chollas Creek Watershed with a creek-to-bay trail system.

Chollas Creek rises in Lemon Grove and La Mesa. It’s north fork traverses the communities of City Heights, Webster and Barrio Logan to empty into the bay. The south fork flows through Encanto, Southeastern San Diego and Southcrest.

“Groundwork San Diego-Chollas Creek is pleased to announce a significant award from the California Natural Resources Agency to improve a critical city-owned segment of Chollas Creek,” said Leslie Reynolds, executive director and founder of Groundwork San Diego-Chollas Creek. “This award builds upon Groundwork’s decade-long partnership with the city that has brought millions of dollars in funding for trails, parks, habitat restoration, and other environmental benefits to the families of the Chollas Creek Watershed.”

This grant is one of 20 statewide Proposition 68 Climate Investment awards to support urban greening in under-served neighborhoods.

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