Port commissioners gave their OK April 14 to the proposed Sweetwater Park waterfront project in Chula Vista. Artist rendering courtesy of the Port of San Diego.

The Port of San Diego Board of Commissioners approved a coastal development permit Tuesday for the planned Sweetwater Park in north Chula Vista, opening the way for the next step in developing the waterfront project.

Planned for the northern portion of the Chula Vista waterfront near E Street and Bay Boulevard, the park “is envisioned as a meadow-type open space to showcase the unique natural assets of San Diego Bay, encouraging passive recreation to complement the adjacent Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge,” port documents said.

The approved coastal development permit will allow for completion of the design of the park. Future financing for the adjacent Gaylord Pacific resort hotel and convention center will include funding for Sweetwater Park and other public infrastructure and amenities.

Proposed features at the park include specialty gardens, a nature playground, picnic area and pedestrian and bike paths, among other ideas.

Sweetwater Park is one of two parks currently in the design phase for the Chula Vista Bayfront Project, along with Harbor Park. Sweetwater Park will account for more than half of the new park space planned for the Chula Vista waterfront, according to initial designs.

KTU+A and Petersen Studio were selected to design the park plans “for their extensive urban park and waterfront design expertise — with an emphasis on local landscape architecture and natural resource management experience,” a port statement said.

“The parks that are being designed and planned, including Sweetwater Park, will give us the long-awaited, enhanced shoreline recreation and active commercial harbor we’ve wanted for quite some time in the South Bay,” said Ann Moore, the chair and Chula Vista’s representative on the board of port commissioners. “Sweetwater Park, specifically, will allow us to appreciate nature on our bayfront, while also protecting the wildlife habitat, species, and our precious coastal resources.”

The Chula Vista Bayfront Project — a partnership between the port of San Diego and Chula Vista — envisions more than 200 acres of parks, a shoreline promenade, walking trails, RV camping, shopping and dining. The project is planned to provide shoreline recreation and an active commercial harbor in the South Bay, and will also attempt to establish ecological buffers to protect wildlife habitat, species and other coastal resources, port documents said.

Next steps include award of a construction contract and then start of construction. Sweetwater Park is required to be completed prior to Gaylord Pacific allowing occupants.

— City News Service

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