WHEN: Wednesday, February 9, 5:30 p.m.
WHAT: Press Conference Unveiling of Proposed Design for Friendship Park
WHERE: Marina Vista Community Center, 1075 8th St., Imperial Beach CA
In advance of a Thursday event which will see the First Lady of Mexico inaugurate new developments at Parque del Mar on the Tijuana side of Friendship Park, the local San Diego coalition Friends of Friendship Park will be releasing proposed alternative architectural design for San Diego’s historic border park. The press conference will be held at the beginning of a public outreach Open House scheduled by San Diego Border Patrol on Wednesday evening, February 9.
Working collaboratively with the Friends of Friendship Park, and with architect Martin Acosta, of the Mexican Parque del Mar project, celebrated San Diego architect James Brown, principal at Public Art & Architecture (http://www.publicdigital.com), has developed a proposal for Friendship Park that would celebrate bi-national friendship as a necessary part of true security.
“Jim Brown’s design for Friendship Park aptly captures the essence of bi-national friendship, while addressing every legitimate security concern that San Diego Border Patrol officials have shared with us across months of consultations,” stated John Fanestil, Executive Director at the San Diego-based Foundation for Change and a leader in the coalition.
At present Friendship Park features security infrastructure and arbitrary enforcement practices resulting in public confusion about whether and how the public can visit the park. A limited public access area created by San Diego Border Patrol has offered park visitors an experience that many liken to visiting someone in jail.
Formerly, families from San Diego, Riverside and Los Angeles would come to the park to visit with family members who had often traveled for days from the interior of Mexico for a family reunion. The present arrangement prevents families like these – and other visitors to the park – from comfortably talking with each other. Family members, who sometimes have not seen each other in years, are routinely turned away after a 30-minute visit.
San Diego Border Patrol will have on display at the Open House proposed modifications to the park which do nothing to address these problems. In addition, Border Patrol plans would place the Boundary Monument – an historic marker recognizing the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo at the end of the U.S.-Mexico War – on the south side of the border fence, leaving it inaccessible to the U.S. public.
“Proposals coming from San Diego Border Patrol continue to violate the spirit of Friendship Park,” stated Pedro Rios of the American Friends Service Committee and a leader in the coalition. “By ensuring that visitors can see each other, touch each other and converse freely in a dignified and orderly manner, our coalition’s proposal honors the original purpose of this historic border park.”
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The Friends of Friendship Park is a coalition of leaders and organizations promoting orderly and dignified public access to Friendship Park, San Diego’s historic park on the US-Mexico border.
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