Park de la Cruz Community Center Transforms Vacant Lot

Park de la Cruz Community Center Transforms Vacant LotSource: City of San Diego
Kamal Jenkins
Published on September 18, 2023

What was once an overgrown and unappealing vacant lot has been transformed into a vibrant, accessible garden at the Park de la Cruz Community Center in City Heights. The ribbon cutting event was held on Saturday, Sept. 16, and the garden, under development since 2021, is now open for community use. The Park de la Cruz Community Center, once a YMCA building, has been repurposed and offers an array of facilities, including a public gymnasium, fitness room, recreation room, sensory room, computer lab, multipurpose spaces, and accommodation for the Parks and Recreation Department’s Therapeutic Recreation and AgeWell Services programs, according to Inside San Diego.

The Park de la Cruz Garden aligns with the Parks Master Plan and the Age Friendly San Diego Action Plan, adopted by City Council in December 2021. This community-driven project saw completion through the generous contributions of donors, community volunteers and local artists. The garden features accessible garden beds, benches, and shade coverings, catering to older adults, individuals with disabilities, and other community volunteers. It’s a place where participants can learn gardening skills, harvest fruits and vegetables, and soak up the serenity of this transformed outdoor space.

Adding a touch of creativity and local flavor, a mural adorns the walls surrounding the garden. The design was conceived by a local artist, and residents of the community assisted in bringing the vibrant artwork to life. This combination of greenery and artistry, in the midst of an urban setting, creates an inviting and enriching environment.

On the garden's impact, Kristi Fenick, District Manager for the Parks and Recreation Department, said, "The Park de la Cruz Program Garden is a fantastic addition to the City of San Diego Parks and Recreation Department, Therapeutic Recreation and AgeWell Services', Because of the generous donors, numerous community agencies, and volunteer support, the garden is thriving, resulting in the harvest being used for cooking classes, produce exchange, and garden/nutrition educational classes for individuals with disabilities and older adults."