As acting chair of the Mission Bay Park Committee, it has been a pleasure to help lead the effort to find the over $300 million necessary to finish Mission Bay park.
What’s not finished? Under the Mission Bay Park Master Plan, there are over $300 million in unfunded capital improvements, almost all on Fiesta Island and the area known as South Shores (the area east of Sea World).
Finishing the park does not mean adding more destination resorts, golf courses or other structural developments. Mission Bay Park, already the most commercialized park on the planet, does not need any more commercial development. The community would not stand for it.
Instead, the Master Plan contemplates more grass, trails for joggers, bikers and hikers, restroom facilities, tot lots, swimming and wading areas, primitive camping, and protection of Fiesta Island’s environmentally sensitive lands.
Today approximately 24,000 people use Fiesta Island each summer weekend; once finished, those numbers could triple. Almost 20 percent of Mission Bay shoreline is on Fiesta Island alone. As the rest of Mission Bay Park and our ocean beaches fill up, we need this space to serve our growing population.
Today, leases in Mission Bay Park (destination resorts and the Sea World amusement park) generate approximately $45 million in revenues, enough to fund the payments on over $700 million in park bonds.
It is said that with the pension deficit we cannot afford to take money for parks away from the general fund (where the Mission Bay Park lease revenues now go). However, that money should never have been diverted to the general fund.
We have a pension deficit because we took monies that morally and legally belonged in the pension system and diverted them to fund general fund payments. We have a park deficit because we have taken money from the Mission Bay leases which morally belonged in the park.
Let me know your thoughts. Email me at email@example.com.