LARGE SWATH OF OPEN SPACE ADDED TO OTAY VALLEY REGIONAL PARK

(SAN DIEGO, Calif. - November 24, 1997) County Supervisor Greg Cox and San Diego City Councilman Juan Vargas today announced a major land swap between the city and H.G. Fenton Material Co. that will double the size of Otay Valley Regional Park. Under the agreement, Fenton will turn over to the city and county 75 acres of biologically-sensitive land it owns in the Otay Valley in exchange for 3 acres of city-owned land located on a bluff just north of Qualcomm Stadium in Mission Valley. Unlike the Otay Valley property, which is located just west of Interstate 805, the Mission Valley acreage can be developed and likely will be over time. "We've been working since the late 1980s on this park, and now we are finally beginning to see the rewards of our efforts," said Cox, who initiated the park effort several years ago while Mayor of Chula Vista. "Otay Valley Regional Park will be for South County what the San Dieguito River Park is for North County, and what Mission Trails Regional Park is for central San Diego" a massive open space area with an array of recreational opportunities. "I'm thrilled with the deal," said Vargas, who along with Cox and Chula Vista Mayor Shirley Horton make up the Otay Valley Regional Park Policy Committee. "This is a major addition to the park." Years in the making, the park's draft Concept Plan was approved on July 18, 1997 by the park's Policy Committee. The plan has since been forwarded to each jurisdiction for hearings on its adoption. The draft plan calls for an open space core that spans 13 miles along the Otay Valley from the southern tip of San Diego Bay all the way to Otay Lakes. The park will include recreational trails, interpretive centers, viewpoints and staging areas to provide opportunities for enjoyment of the park's natural resources. The park, which will eventually include more than 3,000 acres, began to take shape in 1994 when San Diego and Chula Vista purchased 78 acres of riparian habitat and wetlands with a $1.5 million grant from the California Coastal Conservancy. Also included in the park is the recently re-opened Otay Lakes County Park, which will serve as the regional park's eastern gateway. The park had been closed since 1991 due to major maintenance problems that, at the time, were too expensive to repair. Additional land will be acquired with $3 million that was earmarked in the state budget.