Removal of South Bay Power Plant rubble is ahead of schedule

Chula Vista already planning new fire station

CHULA VISTA, Calif. -  

Cleanup of the South Bay Power Plant in Chula Vista is ahead of schedule, according to a spokeswoman for the Unified Port of San Diego.

"It was known as the worst, gross polluter in San Diego County," said longtime Chula Vista resident Vivian Hopkins. "I really hated it."

The plant was finally imploded on Feb. 2 after a 53-year existence. It was diminished to a 25,000-ton pile of steel and rubble. Crews are expected to have the rubble cleared by April.

The demolition is making way for Chula Vista's ambitious 550-acre Bayfront Master Plan, which will include a resort hotel and convention center, condos, restaurants, retail shops, a park and open space.

"They [demolition crews] are taking this very seriously and they had six excavators on site the morning after, the Monday morning after the implosion," said port spokeswoman Tanya Castaneda.

The city of Chula Vista is not wasting any time either. The city has already made plans to build its tenth fire station, which would be its first on the bayfront.

"The money that comes to purchase the equipment and things like that will come from the development and developers that go into the bayfront," said Jim Garcia, the assistant chief for the Chula Vista Fire Department.

Developers need the fire station. Without it, they cannot construct their own development, such as a 35-acre mixed-used community planned by the Pacifica Companies. It could be one of the first new projects to break ground on the bayfront once the fire station is operational.

"We'll have to have a fire station in place there for the development to continue," said Garcia.

Officials with the port and the city of Chula Vista say once the plant is cleared by the end of the year and a new fire station is in place by 2015, the city can begin seeing a new horizon on its bayfront shortly thereafter.

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