City officials Tuesday marked the start of construction on a $15.5 million park in the Ocean View Hills neighborhood, named for the highest-ranking Filipino-American officer in the San Diego Police Department’s history.
The 15-acre Cesar Solis Community Park in Ocean View Hills is named after a retired San Diego Police Department assistant chief, becoming the first in the city to be named after a Filipino-American. The park is slated to open late next year.
Solis, a 32-year police veteran who retired in 2014, grew up in the South Bay and still lives there. His first assignment after becoming a police officer in 1982 was to patrol the Ocean View Hills neighborhood.
“By naming this park after Cesar Solis, we are honoring the South Bay’s rich history, but it is also a testament to City Hall’s investment in this community’s future,” Mayor Kevin Faulconer said. “Cesar Solis is a neighborhood son but it is his commitment to our entire city that shows the next generation of San Diegans the type of selflessness that moves our city forward.”
Solis has had a variety of assignments in his more than three decades on the job, working patrol, investigations, community relations and as the SWAT commanding officer.
In the 1980s, he was a member of the Border Crime Protection Unit, a police-Border Patrol task force targeting border bandits. In 1985, he fatally shot a man who was robbing border-crossers and who shot a Border Patrol agent into his protective vest several times. The agent survived.
Solis was awarded the American Legion Medal of Valor and the department’s Meritorious Service Award for his work on the task force.
As chief of investigations, Solis in 2014 was one of the moving forces behind a yearlong investigation into sex trafficking by North Park gang members under federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations laws. As a result of the SDPD’s first-ever RICO investigation, two dozen alleged gang members were indicted on charges ranging from theft to pimping and murder.
“Retired Assistant Police Chief Cesar Solis dedicated his life to community service and helping others,” said San Diego police Chief Shelley Zimmerman. “That is why it is so fitting to have a place that inspires a sense of community, a neighborhood park, named after him.”
Solis served as captain in southeastern San Diego and became assistant chief in 2008. He attended the lunchtime groundbreaking ceremony along with Mayor Kevin Faulconer, Councilman David Alvarez and Herman Parker, the city’s parks and recreation director.
“This is a great day for the families of Ocean View Hills,” Solis said. “Their dream of a neighborhood park is about to be fulfilled. My wife Doris and I are deeply honored to be a part of this community project.”
The park — to be located on Del Sol Boulevard between Vista Del Mar Elementary and Ocean View Hills School — will include lighted athletic fields, playground areas, restrooms, a concession stand, storage, off-street parking, picnic shelters and benches. A later phase will include a recreation center, pool and joint-use field with the San Ysidro School District.
Ocean View Hills is a growing residential area east of the 805 freeway and north of the 905 freeway. Residents say they currently only have one small park.
— City News Service
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