National City - Plans to build a new 4-acre, $3.5 million park in National City got a boost this week, thanks to a partnership with the federal government.
The Environmental Health Coalition will help the city plan the park and the surrounding area, to make sure people can access the park without having to drive there.
National City is one of just 10 communities across the country chosen for the Safe Routes to Parks Initiative.
The new park will be near 22nd Street and Harding, where an empty field sits right now. As part of the construction, the EHC will help design safer streets around the park.
"Kids are trying to get from point a to point b and they have to cross through that main road," explains City Engineer Jose Lopez. "Without enhancements to the road, there's no way a 10-year old or 5-year old can cross the street."
The EHC will help the city plan curb extensions, a median refuge island in crosswalks and local trails to let people walk through parks instead of along busy streets.
According to a release announcing the partnership, communities chosen for the program had high rates of crime and violence, and also high rates of weight-related chronic diseases. The Safe Routes to Parks program hopes to increase park use and help communities become healthier and safer.
Right now the park is still in the planning stages. They hope to start construction in 2019.