04/09/08

COUNTY MOVES TO PURCHASE MORE PROPERTY FOR SAN LUIS REY RIVER PARK

SAN DIEGO – County Supervisors unanimously approved the acquisition of a 143-acre parcel of land located along the San Luis Rey River. The parcel is within the proposed boundaries of the 9-mile, linear San Luis Rey River Park and more than doubles the amount of land for the park owned by the County. The project was spearheaded by Fifth District Supervisor Bill Horn.

“This is a great moment for the people of San Diego County, especially those in North County,” said Horn. “Ten years ago, it was my vision to create the San Luis Rey River Park, which would be the largest park project in the history of the County and at the same time make good on our promise to widen Highway 76.”

The parcel is currently owned by the Vessels family and will cost approximately $5 million. The land features a southern cottonwood-willow riparian forest, with areas of mulefat scrub; southern willow scrub and coast live oak woodland. The County currently owns 116.56 acres of open space purchased from San Luis Rey Downs in December 2005 and with this purchase, the number of acres now stands at nearly 260 acres. The area lies entirely within the draft North County Multiple Species Conservation Program boundaries.

The park will ultimately extend from Oceanside to Interstate 15 parallel to State route 76, along the San Luis Rey River. Plans call for Highway 76 to be widened to four lanes from Mission to Interstate 15.

In 2003, at the request of Supervisor Horn, the Board of Supervisors initiated the San Luis Rey River Park project and authorized the creation of a master plan for the park. Work on the master plan has now progressed to the point where additional acquisitions have been identified for inclusion in the park. All purchases have been coordinated with Caltrans to ensure compatibility with future improvements to Highway 76, and the Supervisor and his staff are working closely with community groups to gain their input.

A second hearing for final action on this item will be May 14, 2008.

Contact: John Culea – Media and Communications Director
619 531-4709 Cell: 619 548-1765 Fax: 619 685-2662

Additional information:
Brian Albright, Assistant Director, County of San Diego Parks & Recreation 
858 966-1302, brian.albright@sdcounty.ca.gov