County supervisors ok Tijuana River Park project

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – The county Board of Supervisors today unanimously approved an improvement project for the Tijuana River Valley Regional Park that includes adding seven acres of native vegetation.

The proposed project will also include the removal of four dilapidated structures.

According to the county, adding vegetation will “have a positive impact on the community” by reducing urban heat island effects, improving air quality and providing better infiltration during rainfall.

Voting 4-0, supervisors approved spending $2.4 million from in the Capital Outlay Fund. A $2 million grant from the state Water Resources Control Board and $400,000 from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife will help pay for the project, according to county documents.

Supervisors also approved an update to the project’s environmental impact report, and authorized the county Department of Purchasing to seek construction bids.

Located near the United States-Mexico border and close to the Nestor community, the 1,800-acre regional park features 22.5 miles of multi-use trails, baseball and soccer fields, a bird and butterfly garden, the county’s largest community garden and open space.

Board Chairwoman Nora Vargas, in whose district the park is located, said the project is “really a great way for us to rehabilitate that whole area.”

Vargas mentioned that early in her term, she proposed declaring conditions in the Tijuana River Valley to be a public health crisis.

“We have an opportunity here to do something that is going to have great impact,” Vargas said

Board Vice Chair Terra Lawson-Remer said she was glad to see that attention was being paid to the Tijuana River Valley region.

Lawson-Remer said that as one who hikes in the region often, she “can tell you from first-hand experience that this is a very, very needed endeavor,”  and looked forward to future habitat improvements.

She added the river valley has the potential to be an extraordinary biodiversity asset for the entire region.

In related actions, supervisors also unanimously voted in favor of public hearings on June 14 for proposed land purchases for the Sweetwater Regional Park and Mount Olympus County Preserve.

Sweetwater Regional Park is located in the community of Spring Valley. The county is considering purchasing 190 acres, valued at $5.3 million, from the New Ranch Land Company. If supervisors vote yes, the land purchase will expand the park from 300 to 490 acres.

The county is also considering the addition of 425 acres for the Mount Olympus preserve in the northeast-located Pala-Pauma community.

Board approval would let the county buy the land, valued at $2.8 million, from limited liability company Rancho Aruba.

The purchase would increase the preserve by over 1,200 acres and provide more chaparral habitat for deer, mountain lion and other sensitive species, according to the county.

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