Welcome to Viva-city and Downtown San Diego
Sandra Simmons

Life in the City

-by Sandra Simmons

Downtowners what’s your pleasure?

On May 6, the Port of San Diego will make a decision forever changing our front yard…the land adjacent to Seaport Village.

Ripley’s Entertainment has proposed a building on the waterfront with bumper boats, Japanese pearl divers, an aquarium, a 400-seat restaurant, and a Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Museum with strange and unusual items, such as the world’s largest limo, Mona Lisa made of toast, and shrunken heads. A 5-story building will include an 800-space parking garage and a themed dinner theatre holding 700 people a night.

Ripley cites their Gatlinburg, Tennessee theme park as the largest money making aquarium in the US…but this isn’t Tennessee.

GMS Realty, the current leaseholders of Seaport Village, propose an urban living room experience targeting residents of Downtown, believing tourists will visit because it’s a more authentic feel of our city.

When I visit cities, I don’t visit the tourist attractions, I go into the neighborhoods, asking locals where their favorite places to eat are. I want to have a genuine experience, blend in and feel part of the city.

Seaport Village and the new project will be renamed One Pacific Highway, (memorializing one of the original US highways, Highway 101, a beginning and arrival point) combining the existing buildings at Seaport Village with the more urban buildings of the expanded project. Our heritage will be joined into a seamless flow with our future, making it the cornerstone of Downtown.

A ceremonial entrance on Kettner will welcome visitors; a Central Park will invite them to stay and throw a Frisbee around, hear entertainment, or lounge in the sun. Central Park will be the gateway to a Pier Walk lined with shops, restaurants and a vibrant public market vending fresh fish, produce, flowers and specialty items. The Old Police Station’s tower and courtyard will be refurnished to its former grandeur, and all efforts will be made to keep the building on the National Historic list.

Did I mention the 2 million visitors Ripley’s project is purporting to bring to our neighborhood? In addition to the 50,000 residents and 175,000 workers (as targeted for in 2025) and visitors to the Gaslamp Quarter, Convention Center, USS Midway, Petco Park…we could have another 2 million people traveling our streets, trying to find a parking space.

Which proposal would benefit your lifestyle Downtown? What experience do you want those visiting our community to go away with?

Does an amusement theme park add or detract from our neighborhood? Would this proposal create a carnival atmosphere? Would you or your guests visit?

Do you want more parks, public spaces and open areas? Do you want a public market the likes of Pikes Market or Quincy Market? Do you want urban specialty retail catering to your wants and needs?

Do you want natural beauty incorporated as an attraction, or an artificially created one?

I wonder…Can our voices be heard? - May 1, 2003

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