The city of San Diego officially opened the North Park Mini Park to residents in the North Park community Sunday morning with speeches from elected officials followed by a free community event.
Mayor Todd Gloria, cut the ribbon on the new park, which was approved in 2012. He was joined by Assemblyman Chris Ward, D-San Diego and City Councilman Stephen Whitburn. Food trucks, a children's music program and other live music followed the ribbon cutting ceremony.
The $5 million, 21,780-square-foot mini park and plaza transforms a parking lot behind the site of the former historic North Park Theatre -- now known as the Observatory. Upgrades to the space include a musical play area, performance stage, seating areas with tables, chairs and benches, enhanced lighting, wayfinding pylons, bike racks, a drinking fountain and improved landscape and irrigation.
“I’m happy to see they finally did something with the spot, it was an empty dead parking lot forever," North Park Business owner Nick Apostolopoulos said.
Marvin Navarro, another North Park business owner, said, “I hope [the park] brings out more people. I feel like it should bring out the neighborhood, bring the community together to support the businesses.”
The park was approved a decade ago and the city began soliciting construction bids in 2019. Two other mini parks were developed in San Diego in 2021: the La Paz Mini Park -- which will transform a vacant dirt lot into green space in Valencia Park and is scheduled to be finished mid-2022 -- broke ground in May; and the J Street Mini Park in the Stockton neighborhood was reopened in October following extensive improvements.
Last year, Gloria began the "Parks for All of Us'' initiative, updating the city's Parks Master Plan to prioritize park improvements in park-deficient and historically underserved communities, intended to help fund more projects like this in the future.