Lawmakers Peace, Ducheny secure $16 million for local community projects

Two of San Diego's most powerful lawmakers helped steer more than $16 million in State funding towards local projects, ranging from $70,000 for a Tijuana River Valley Ballpark to $6.5 million for three parkland purchases that will help create a greenbelt along the Otay and Tijuana rivers. Senator Steve Peace, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, and Assemblywoman Denise Moreno Ducheny, Chairwoman of the Assembly Budget Committee, made a strong case for projects in their districts winning the governor's approval. The state budget includes $1.75 million for San Diego's Recycled Water for Industry Project, $250,000 for the Sweetwater Summit Park and Campground, and $2 million on several parcels of land along the Tijuana River. The budget provides $3.25 million to purchase 150 acres of land to add to the Otay Valley Regional Park. The County of San Diego and the cities of Chula Vista and San Diego are working together to establish an Otay Valley Regional Park that links Otay Lakes with San Diego Bay. For 13 miles along the Otay River, the park will provide recreational opportunities ranging from playing fields and picnic areas to hiking, biking and horse trails. The park will cover more than 3,000 acres and will protect open space, wildlife, historical and archaeological sites, and agricultural resources. "We must preserve this special place," said Ducheny. "Today many areas of the Otay Valley have become dumping places for illegal refuse and havens for crime and drug abuse. Soon this will be a place where families can relax and where wildlife will be protected for those who come after us." Senator Peace said the establishment of a greenbelt along the Tijuana and Otay rivers is a critical part of an overall strategy to protect San Diego's quality of life by preventing the sort of urban sprawl which is characteristic of Los Angeles. Senator Steve Peace