At 5:30 p.m. this Wednesday, Feb. 9, at Marina Vista Community Center (1075 8th St., Imperial Beach), the Friends of Friendship Park Coalition will unveil their new design for Friendship Park, the now infamous plot of land where the United States ends and Mexico begins. The plans were designed by San Diego architect James Brown of Public Architecture & Planning.
For years, Friendship Park was a place where families separated by immigration status would go to meet and enjoy picnics and even link hands through the fence. In 2009, the Department of Homeland Security began construction on a double border fence, which ended up completely blocking access to the park.---
With a lot of work, the coalition gained limited access back, but they continue to push for more accessibility to the beach, the park and the monument that marks the U.S.-Mexico border. The upcoming unveiling is the first step in a big push for the complete redesign of Friendship Park.
The San Diego Border Patrol has said they have looked at the Friend's proposed design, but have been vague when it comes to whether they plan on implementing it. On Wednesday, Border Patrol will be sharing their own proposed modifications to the park, which Friends of Friendship Park representatives say is unacceptable.
“Proposals coming from San Diego Border Patrol continue to violate the spirit of Friendship Park,” says 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.”