A rendering of SDSU West showing the park along the San Diego River. Courtesy SDSU West

San Diego State University announced Wednesday a plan to redirect Murphy Canyon Creek’s flow as part of its redevelopment plan in Mission Valley.

Mission Valley is a floodplain with occasional flooding from the San Diego River reaching into the parking lot at SDCCU Stadium when it rains. The proposal would divert the creek, which converges with the river near the stadium, to a more winding course with less potential for flooding.

Builders would also raise the proposed project and its adjoining neighborhood above the floodplain using crushed concrete recycled from the old stadium.

“We’re looking to pull green space from the river’s ecosystem into the site,” said Gordon Carrier of the architecture firm Carrier Johnson + Culture. “If open space is done right, it can inspire thoughtful development, which sets the tone for the whole site. There are few, if any, opportunities to influence a region like this plan can influence San Diego. Mission Valley is really the epicenter of the entire community, and it’s immensely important to get it right.”

Tennis courts, baseball diamonds, soccer fields and open green space would be built at a lower elevation than the raised project site, providing an undeveloped buffer zone for when the river overflows from rainfall.

“It will be green space and athletic fields 98 percent of the time,” Carrier said of the SDSU Mission Valley plan, “but it will also be a floodplain occasionally. That’s intentional.”

The SDSU West ballot initiative, meanwhile, has received public support from Councilwomen Lorie Zapf and Barbara Bry in recent weeks, as well as the Lincoln Club, Sierra Club and the California State University Board of Trustees.

The redevelopment of the current SDCCU Stadium site would include a new 35,000-seat stadium for Aztecs football and soccer, hotels, retail buildings, an academic campus and the river park.

Also on the ballot is a competing initiative for SoccerCity, which also proposes mixed-use spaces, as well as a 23,500-seat professional soccer stadium that could be expanded to accommodate Aztecs football.

Updated at 3:35 p.m. Aug. 15, 2018

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Chris Jennewein

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