Construction is progressing on the 3.3-acre Ruocco Park, in San Diego, which will be located just north of Seaport Village, and sidewalks around the perimeter of the site will be closed through early April.
Contractors will be re-routing pedestrian traffic from the park site – at Pacific Highway and North Harbor Drive – from January 9 through at least early April 2012. This temporary pedestrian detour is necessary for the safety of pedestrians and construction workers.
A portion of the buildings that formerly housed the Harbor Seafood Mart and the Coral Reef Restaurant have been demolished, and the land is being prepared to create the park.
The park is designed by Dennis Otsuji of ONA and Associates, Inc., a San Diego firm, and named for the late Lloyd and Ilse Ruocco, who established a $3.5 million fund for its creation. The fund is administered by the San Diego Foundation. Otsuji has worked on local landscape architecture projects at the Stephen Birch Aquarium and Liberty Station.
With quiet contemplative areas, a variety of trees and an artwork by local artist Roman de Salvo, the design incorporates many of the elements that the Ruoccos requested when they established the park fund.
The artwork by de Salvo will provide a dramatic entrance to the park at the corner of North Harbor Drive and Pacific Highway. It includes an overhead web of eucalyptus tree limbs that have been splayed and spliced together.
The Port of San Diego is contributing $3.8 million for the park. Funding was allocated in the Port's Capital Improvement Program for a basic park. The Ruocco donation is being used for the park's design and upgrades, such as the garden areas, upgraded hardscape, benches, public art and lighting. The Port's Capital Improvement Program funding will also cover the partial demolition of the Harbor Seafood Mart building, which is estimated to cost $1 million. The park is being built by Ledcor Construction, Inc. Construction is anticipated to be completed at the end of the summer.
Ruocco Park will be the Port's 18th public park. As a provider of recreational opportunities for the region, the Port of San Diego has developed 150 acres of public parkland along the waterfront of San Diego Bay and the shoreline of Imperial Beach.
Along with its parks, the Port has created miles of pathways that weave throughout the parks along the water's edge. For anglers, fishing piers are found in five locations. The parks are also ideal for hosting corporate events, weddings or reunions.
The Port of San Diego was created by the state legislature in 1962. Since then, it has invested $1.7 billion in public improvements in its five member cities – Chula Vista, Coronado, Imperial Beach, National City and San Diego.
The Port District oversees two maritime cargo terminals, two cruise ship terminals, 17 public parks, the Harbor Police Department and the leases of more than 600 tenant and sub tenant businesses around San Diego Bay.