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Thursday, April 21, 2005 | Earlier this month, the San Diego City Council directed the city attorney, city manager and city staff to move forward with the paperwork that will allow the early building of a much-anticipated, 46-acre park along the San Diego Bay at Liberty Station. The issuance of the bond to finance the park – the contractually approved mechanism to do so – will now be voted on at the May 17 council meeting.

We applaud the decision by the council to move forward with this important part of the transformation of Liberty Station into a vibrant public asset for the citizens of San Diego.

Although the park would have been built later, we have been working with the city staff and council to get it done and in the hands of the citizens of San Diego and the residents of Liberty Station much sooner than our contract with the city calls for. The issuance of this bond on May 17 will allow us to make that happen.

Contrary to what people heard from naysayers and “NIMBYs” at that April 5 council meeting, we are fully complying with our contract with the city, not just on the issue of the park, but in all aspects of our agreement. And despite what some people would like you to believe, and in the face of their best efforts to stop it, we are making great progress in bringing the city’s vision for Liberty Station to fruition.

Those of us who build communities truly do want to bring amenities like schools, parks and recreation facilities not just to our home buyers, but to all the people of San Diego. It just makes good sense to build vibrant communities that people can truly live in comfortably. NTC Park, the NTC Promenade and the Marketplace at Liberty Station are all examples of what will be a new and exciting community in the very near future. Unfortunately for the majority of people in Point Loma and the rest of San Diego, there are those out there who have fought, and will continue to fight, that progress every step of the way, further delaying the promise of this great project.

Even so, the NTC Foundation recently announced plans for the first phase of the NTC Promenade, Liberty Station’s civic, arts and cultural center in the heart of the historic district, as well as the first 18 tenants that will inhabit those buildings. We are preparing to renovate the historic Sail Ho Golf Course. High Tech High, in Liberty Station’s education district, is one of the top schools in the San Diego Unified School District. The 349 homes at Liberty Station have all been sold and are nearing full occupancy. And Liberty Station’s office buildings are quickly filling up.

Contrary to what some would like it to be, San Diego, and Point Loma for that matter, is not a sleepy little Navy town anymore. We are helping the city make Liberty Station a place that all San Diegans, as well as the millions of recruits who passed through its gates, can be proud of and enjoy.

We are glad the City Council can see through the few negative voices to do the right thing for the people of San Diego. We believe in the vision of Liberty Station and we look forward to our continued success as a partner with the city on this project.

Walter Heiberg is senior vice president at The McMillin Cos., the master developer of the Naval Training Center.

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