SAN DIEGO, Calif. (KGTV) - San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer's says his plan to build or renovation 50 parks in his final five years in office is nearing the halfway point, with several success stories to show.
"A lot of our parks hadn't been upgraded in several decades," said Faulconer. "It's the type of investment that we should be doing at City Hall."
Earlier this month, the mayor and other city leaders cut the ribbon on the brand new Pacific Highlands Ranch Community Park. It was the 24th new or renovated park completed since the "50 in 5" program began in 2016.
"I challenged our Parks and Rec folks from the very beginning, let's not just design parks that are equipment that we used to put in 30 years ago, let's modernize it, let's upgrade it," the mayor said.
The new parks are diverse in their size, scope and amenities. They have included skate parks, Parkour facilities, recreation centers, small neighborhood mini-parks, BMX pump parks, playgrounds, open space and more.
The city's Parks and Recreation Department's Capital Improvement Budget shows $12,255,940 spent in the 2019 fiscal year. In the upcoming 2020 year, that number jumps to $17,677,951.
Faulconer said he's been able to maximize money from the city budget by partnering with San Diego Unified School District on "joint-use" parks at schools. Of the 55 parks either completed or in the planning process, 22 are at schools.
Other funding has come from state and federal grants.
At Pacific Highlands Ranch Park, parents say they're thrilled with how it turned out.
"We've probably been here every day. We're so excited," said Monica Broselle, who lives next to the park. "We've been watching it since it was a big empty field for 14, 15 years. Now there's something for everyone."
All of the parks are expected to be completed by the end of 2020.
"When I'm done being mayor, the expansion of our park system is going to be one of the things that I look back with the most amount of pride," said Faulconer.