The sounds of construction filled the air at Waterfront Park in downtown San Diego on Thursday morning as county officials held a groundbreaking ceremony for several new recreational amenities coming to the popular urban green space.
A small crowd gathered near the site of the future basketball courts, eagerly awaiting the start of the event. County Board of Supervisors chairwoman Nora Vargas stepped up to a podium with a smile, clearly excited about the park additions. She began her speech by emphasizing the importance of community spaces like parks for bringing people together.
“In today’s world of nonstop social media and cell phone fixation, we need more opportunities for real human interaction and relationship building,” Vargas said passionately. “Parks give us a setting to talk to our neighbors, meet new people, and strengthen communal bonds. I think these new facilities at Waterfront Park will give families, friends, and even strangers a chance to engage with each other in fun, healthy activities.”
The $3 million construction project, already underway, will add a full-sized basketball court, four pickleball courts, a dog park, an outdoor exercise station, table tennis, and more by Spring 2024, according to the county’s statement. The new dog park will include agility equipment like tunnels, ramps, and weave poles where pet owners can train their dogs. Shaded seating areas throughout the additions will give people places to relax or chat after playing.
At the ceremony, County Parks and Recreation Director Brian Albright explained that the south gardens and three mature Torrey Pines trees would remain undisturbed. The trees would be carefully transplanted deeper into the gardens to make room for the new courts and facilities.
When finished, the recreational expansion will enhance Waterfront Park’s appeal as a community hub for residents and visitors alike. The county opened the park in 2014 after transforming 12 acres of parking lots and buildings into a beautiful civic space for $50 million. The site still houses a large underground parking garage to accommodate crowds drawn to the park’s amenities, which attract over 5 million visitors per year.
As Vargas concluded her remarks, smiling attendees clapped and cheered, eager to see the project take shape. Within a year, the sounds of playful barking, bouncing balls, and friendly competition will join the chatter of San Diegans coming together to enjoy their city’s picturesque downtown oasis.