District 2 Councilman Kevin Faulconer and District 6 Councilwoman Donna Frye joined community leaders Jan. 17 at Sefton Park to kick off construction of a new bike and pedestrian pathway that would connect Ocean Beach to Mission Valley.
The path would link Sefton Park in Mission Valley with Mission Bay, down to Dog Beach in Ocean Beach, according to Michael Nelson, executive officer for the San Diego River Conservancy.
He said the project is part of a bigger, long-term plan for trails along the San Diego River.
"There's interest and activity and real engagement by the community in the development of the San Diego River Trail, and this project is evidence of that," he said.
At a cost of about $2.5 million, the 10-foot-wide, two-lane paved path would extend from an existing pathway in Ocean Beach along the north side of the Interstate 8 from Pacific Highway to Hotel Circle Place, he said.
The River Conservancy helped secure about $2 million in state funds for the project, while the San Diego Association of Governments contributed about $550,000, he said. With local organizations showing interest in developing trails along the river, Nelson said the San Diego River Conservancy would work closely with local governments and nonprofit organizations to build new trails and improve existing pathways down the length of the San Diego River as funding becomes available.
Nelson said this new addition would highlight the San Diego River and surrounding lands as a quiet tourist destination for those who want to cycle, run or walk from Hotel Circle to Ocean Beach.
But while the River Conservancy and local communities may have big plans for the future, the 4,000-foot concrete pathway now being constructed is relatively small.
Project manager Michael Handal said the project calls only for the construction of the trail, with no plans for landscaping or other improvements along the area. He said crews would work to leave the surrounding area untouched.
"[The trail] is all natural," Handal said. "We need to preserve the existing natural habitat."
Handal said he expects the project to be completed by early summer. Zondiros Corporation is the contractor on the project, while the design consultant is with Kimley-Horn & Associates, Handal said.