SDSU Mission Valley River Park ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrates park’s completion

The 34-acre river park, which is open to the public, is a gathering space for families, sports fans and other general community members.

Thursday, March 7, 2024
SDSU President Adela de la Torre is joined by San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria and local dignitaries at the SDSU Mission Valley Park ribbon cutting ceremony.
SDSU President Adela de la Torre is joined by San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria and local dignitaries at the SDSU Mission Valley Park ribbon cutting ceremony, March 6, 2024. (SDSU)

San Diego State University held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the official completion of the 34-acre river park, which features multiuse recreational fields, hiking and biking trails and many other amenities.

“What was once a sea of asphalt is now acres of park and open space along the San Diego River that all San Diegans can enjoy,” Mayor Todd Gloria said. “Thank you to San Diego State University for building such a thoughtfully designed river park — with its sprawling trails, vibrant gathering spaces, and sustainable design, it epitomizes the spirit of innovation and progress that defines SDSU and our city as a whole.” 

The ribbon cutting was held March 6 at SDSU Mission Valley at a time when the playground was full of children and their families. 

“Today marks a significant achievement for San Diego State University,” said SDSU President Adela de la Torre. “With today’s ribbon cutting, SDSU Mission Valley enhances the cultural and recreational offerings for our region, fostering a vibrant environment for both the university and the broader community.”

In December 2023, the university held a soft opening for the river park and, since then, it has been enjoyed by thousands of community members. Additional park space along Murphy Canyon Creek on the east side of the property is currently set to open in late April and includes a playground and recreational field.

As laid out in the university’s SDSU Mission Valley development plans, the river park was completed in advance of any other vertical development, with the exception of Snapdragon Stadium. 

SDSU broke ground on the river park in April 2022 and designed the space to be sensitive to its location along the habitat corridors surrounding the San Diego River. Plantings of exclusively San Diego County native species have been placed between these natural areas and active recreation as a buffer, while also reinforcing biodiversity by attracting native insects and wildlife that depend on them.

A portion of the park’s two-mile hike and bike loop will also serve as part of the regional river trail system, which begins at the river’s headwaters near Julian. Longtime SDSU philanthropists Ben and Nikki Clay have supported the development, operations and maintenance of the river park with a $750,000 gift last year. Ben Clay serves on the board of the State of California’s San Diego River Conservancy.

“This new River Park is significant to our region — both because of the positive impact it will have for our community and the benefits the design brings to the water quality of the San Diego River,” said Ben Clay, chair of the San Diego River Conservancy and longtime donor to SDSU. “This is a realization of a long-held regional vision and demonstrates how when we all work together, great things can be accomplished.”

Last week, the university announced a $2 million grant from the San Diego River Conservancy to build a laboratory in SDSU Mission Valley’s River Park to train the region’s future water professionals and share their research with the community.

The park was constructed by Clark Construction, PDC/Bowman (civil engineering), Schmidt Design Group (landscape architect) and Brightview (landscape construction). 

To keep the park safe and beautiful, SDSU Mission Valley Enterprises, a nonprofit university auxiliary tasked with operating and maintaining the SDSU Mission Valley site on behalf of SDSU, has partnered with Urban Strategy Services, an independent spinoff company of the Downtown San Diego Partnership. 

Additional information about the River Park is available on the SDSU Mission Valley website

Categorized As