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San Diego River Park Enhanced Infrastructure Financing District Work Underway

04/27/21

A permanent funding strategy for the development and maintenance of the San Diego River Park trail system and restoration is in the works. Chair Nathan Fletcher of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors has convened a task force of indigenous, nonprofit and government leaders to finish the work Senator Chris Kehoe started two decades ago. 

Chair Fletcher introduced the formation of a task force during his February State of the County Address; their first meeting was in March where they identified priority projects along the San Diego River in need of funding;  and the next meeting is during Earth Month on Wednesday, April 28 where they will further refine the needed projects along the River and gather information needed to create an Enhanced Infrastructure Financing District.  

“San Diego County has beautiful open spaces for people to enjoy, and we want to preserve them,” said Chair Fletcher. “The completion of the San Diego River Park trail system will create a beautiful connection between urban areas and the backcountry for families to enjoy, and augment important conservation efforts led by our tribal leaders.  The task force is committed to getting the job done and I appreciate their partnership.” 

The task force members are: 

  • Johnny Eagle, Kumeyaay Diegueno Land Conservancy
  • Rob Hutsel, San Diego River Park Foundation
  • Julia Richards, San Diego River Conservancy
  • Aimee Cox, Regional Task Force on the Homeless
  • Brian Albright, Director, County of San Diego Parks & Recreation
  • Nathan Fletcher, Chair, County Board of Supervisors
  • Randy Wilde, Policy Advisor for Mayor Todd Gloria
  • Raul Campillo, Councilmember for District 7

The task force has set a 90-day window to build the framework toward developing an Enhanced Infrastructure Financing District (EIFD). The EIFD law gives local agencies the ability to use tax increments to finance projects.  According to the League of California Cities, “an EIFD provides broad authority for local agencies to use tax increment to finance a wide variety of projects” including infrastructure, parks and open space, and stormwater infrastructure.

Earlier this year, Chair Fletcher in partnership with Supervisor Joel Anderson secured $6 million to restore in perpetuity parks and habitat in the  El Monte River Valley along the San Diego River, which will provide an opportunity for future trail connections between existing County park facilities and the San Diego River Park Regional Trail and Flume Trails to the east.

The San Diego River park EIFD aligns with Chair Fletcher’s Framework for the Future of San Diego County. The Framework prioritizes communities and populations in San Diego that have been historically left behind. Through this Framework, Chair Fletcher is fighting for: racial justice, health equity, economic opportunity, environmental protection, government transparency, and fundamental changes to county operations.