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Golden Hill finally gets attention

CCC fixes trail on 26th, installs wooden bridges, adds stone stairs

Golden Hill Park doesn't usually get the same polishing as the adjacent golf course. - Image by Irvin Gavidor
Golden Hill Park doesn't usually get the same polishing as the adjacent golf course.

At the southeastern edge of Balboa Park, Golden Hill Park doesn't usually get the same polishing as the adjacent golf course and other more popular facets of the city's "gem." It's still nice, no doubt, but in our 18 years living in the neighborhood we've known it to be a bit scruffy, especially the winding slope of 26th Street, where trash collects from homeless encampments and shriveled weeds cling to dusty ground.

The old trail through Bennington Memorial Oak Grove was ”little more than a dry streambed.”

The old trail through Bennington Memorial Oak Grove was so eroded – ”little more than a dry streambed,” said landscape architect Jackie Higgins – that runners were forced into the bike lane. And we weren’t the only ones to notice how woebegone the park had become. Years ago, Higgins said, a senior Balboa Park ranger identified the trail along 26th as a priority project: a crucial connection between Golden Hill Park and Florida Canyon. Now, with $387,000 in state funds, California Conservation Corps is making some overdue upgrades.

Higgins said residents stop by to say thank you and compliment them.

Back in 2019, CCC secured the funds with the support and sponsorship of Forever Balboa Park. The pandemic put the plan on pause until April 2022; completion is expected in September. CCC’s San Diego Center and Forever Balboa Park continue to partner to get the work done.

One of four new wooden bridges

For the past four months, a crew of 12-15 corpsmembers spent many sweaty days resurfacing 2400 feet of walking trail, installing four new wooden bridges to replace unsafe old ones, and building a sturdy new set of stone stairs into the steep hill at the top of 26th, where people were accustomed to scrambling up the dirt embankment. The “icing on the cake” will be a new lodgepole fence to separate the trail from the street. Signage, which is decidedly absent from this section of park, is also coming soon.

New set of stone stairs at the top of 26th

Chris Van Horne of CCC said the project is part of California’s Active Transportation Program, aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions through increasing how often Californians walk and bike to get around. One way is to make entering the park through the Golden Hill neighborhood more pedestrian friendly.

CCC corpsmembers said they’ve seen more people using the completed trail portions to run, walk their dogs, and stroll through the park. Higgins said residents stop by to say thank you and compliment them on a job well done.

Though unrelated to CCC’s park improvements, SANDAG’s recent modifications to 26th Street – flexible barriers for the bike lane, new signage, and road resurfacing – add to the overall new spiffiness of the area. Higgins said more plans are in the works for Golden Hill.

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Golden Hill Park doesn't usually get the same polishing as the adjacent golf course. - Image by Irvin Gavidor
Golden Hill Park doesn't usually get the same polishing as the adjacent golf course.

At the southeastern edge of Balboa Park, Golden Hill Park doesn't usually get the same polishing as the adjacent golf course and other more popular facets of the city's "gem." It's still nice, no doubt, but in our 18 years living in the neighborhood we've known it to be a bit scruffy, especially the winding slope of 26th Street, where trash collects from homeless encampments and shriveled weeds cling to dusty ground.

The old trail through Bennington Memorial Oak Grove was ”little more than a dry streambed.”

The old trail through Bennington Memorial Oak Grove was so eroded – ”little more than a dry streambed,” said landscape architect Jackie Higgins – that runners were forced into the bike lane. And we weren’t the only ones to notice how woebegone the park had become. Years ago, Higgins said, a senior Balboa Park ranger identified the trail along 26th as a priority project: a crucial connection between Golden Hill Park and Florida Canyon. Now, with $387,000 in state funds, California Conservation Corps is making some overdue upgrades.

Higgins said residents stop by to say thank you and compliment them.

Back in 2019, CCC secured the funds with the support and sponsorship of Forever Balboa Park. The pandemic put the plan on pause until April 2022; completion is expected in September. CCC’s San Diego Center and Forever Balboa Park continue to partner to get the work done.

One of four new wooden bridges

For the past four months, a crew of 12-15 corpsmembers spent many sweaty days resurfacing 2400 feet of walking trail, installing four new wooden bridges to replace unsafe old ones, and building a sturdy new set of stone stairs into the steep hill at the top of 26th, where people were accustomed to scrambling up the dirt embankment. The “icing on the cake” will be a new lodgepole fence to separate the trail from the street. Signage, which is decidedly absent from this section of park, is also coming soon.

New set of stone stairs at the top of 26th

Chris Van Horne of CCC said the project is part of California’s Active Transportation Program, aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions through increasing how often Californians walk and bike to get around. One way is to make entering the park through the Golden Hill neighborhood more pedestrian friendly.

CCC corpsmembers said they’ve seen more people using the completed trail portions to run, walk their dogs, and stroll through the park. Higgins said residents stop by to say thank you and compliment them on a job well done.

Though unrelated to CCC’s park improvements, SANDAG’s recent modifications to 26th Street – flexible barriers for the bike lane, new signage, and road resurfacing – add to the overall new spiffiness of the area. Higgins said more plans are in the works for Golden Hill.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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