Mission Bay Park is slated for a series of major infrastructure projects over the next six years, including a “much-needed makeover” for the playground at Bonita Cove.
Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer and community leaders broke ground Tuesday morning on the soon-to-be upgraded playground at Bonita Cove on Mission Bay, alongside a man whose wife was killed in a hit-and-run three years ago.
"She was a real beacon for involvement, for volunteerism and for giving back to our city. We miss her," Faulconer said. "Her legacy will live on in this park."
The playground will be named after Maruta Gardner, 69, a beloved woman – considered by many to be the “heart and soul” of the Mission Beach community – who was killed in 2016. Police believed it was a road rage-fueled, hit-and-run crash involving a suspected drunken driver.
SDPD said Gardner was cleaning up some graffiti on Jetty Road and Mission Boulevard, standing on the curb, when she was struck by a black Toyota Corolla. Maruta Gardner’s husband, William Gardner, was in attendance to see his wife honored in the community she loved so much.
Park improvements include renovation of the half-acre playground, replacement of the comfort station, a new shade structure, sidewalks and pedestrian curb ramps to meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards and enhanced security lighting, the city said.
Mayor Faulconer announced in 2018 the minimum $40 million in projects planned for Mission Bay Park and other public areas, funded by two voter-approved ballot initiatives.
In November 2016, voters approved a measure to extend 2008’s Proposition C to set aside a portion of Mission Bay lease revenue profits toward investments for Mission Bay Park and regional parks for an additional 30 years. The city said an estimated $1.5 billion will be generated through 2069.
The park’s construction costs will total $3.4 million, according to the city.
Other projects slated for Mission Bay Park include more than $10 million for bay dredging; more than $5 million for parking lot resurfacing; nearly $8 million to replace playground equipment; more than $7 million to replace and upgrade restrooms; and more than $3 million to replace and upgrade the adult fitness course on East Mission Bay and the recreation center at Robb Field.