Shovels in hand, San Diego city leaders gathered Tuesday to break ground on a new park in the South Bay – the first park in the city to be named after a Filipino-American.
Cesar Solis Community Park – named after retired San Diego Police Department (SDPD) Assistant Chief Cesar Solis – will be built at 4919 Del Sol Blvd., adjacent to Ocean View Hills Elementary School.
Solis, who grew up in the South Bay and still calls the community home, spent 32 years with the SDPD and retired in 2014 as the highest-ranking Filipino-American in the police department’s history.
Now, a 15-acre park will honor his career of service – a project spearheaded by San Diego District 8 Councilmember David Alvarez and Mayor Kevin Faulconer.
Faulconer said the park will represent Solis’ commitment to San Diego.
“He left his mark on our San Diego community, which is why we are proud to have his name on this community park,” the mayor said.
Faulconer said the site will become a gathering spot for families and children, and will feature a multi-purpose athletic field, walking paths, picnic areas, a service building with restrooms and a snack bar, playgrounds, shaded areas, a skate park and ample parking.
At Tuesday’s groundbreaking, Solis said he was humbled by the soon-to-be park that will bear his name. He said he has fond memories of growing up in the area and playing in Little League at parks as a child.
“I was kept busy – probably what kept me out of trouble year-round,” said Solis.
SDPD Chief Shelley Zimmerman, who patrolled the community alongside Solis 34 years ago, said parks “bring a sense of community” and the park dedicated to Solis means a lot to the SDPD.
“Today is such a fantastic day,” Zimmerman told NBC 7, beaming. “To have this particular park – where he grew up, where he patrolled early in his career, named after him – this is fantastic. What a great honor; [it’s] completely fitting.”
“Today is a historic day for the South Bay,” said Alvarez in a press release. “Cesar Solis Park will be the first new City park built in the South Bay in decades. The community struggled for years to make this park a reality, and I am so proud that I was able to join them and achieve success."
The construction of the $15.5 million project was unanimously approved by the San Diego City Council this past June. The park is expected to be completed in late 2017.