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30-foot border wall project to continue at Friendship Park

Friends of Friendship Park described the proposed project as a "nail in the coffin" after meeting with border patrol on Wednesday.

SAN DIEGO — Friends for Friendship Park received devastating news on Wednesday after learning the federal government plans to follow through with building two 30-foot walls across the park.

Friendship Park represents the relationship between the U.S. and Mexico. It's a relationship based on friendship, a place loved ones, separated by the border, could meet. 

The park in Imperial Beach shut down before the pandemic. After a meeting with U.S. Border Patrol and San Diego Border Patrol on Wednesday, Friends of Friendship Park said its future is looking bleak.

"We view the current proposal as a nail in the coffin of Friendship Park," said John Fanestil, from Friends of Friendship Park Coalition.

Fanestil said border patrol plans to replace the two 18-foot walls and lattice fence with walls that are 30-feet high.

"These new 30-foot walls will dramatically change the visibility from Mexico into the united states. it will further diminish the sensibility of a bi-national park," he said. 

In the past, the park had a pedestrian gate that allowed for short visits.

Fanestil said the future plan includes a pedestrian gate moved farther from the beach but it's unclear what access people will have.

"Across many years, we've learned San Diego Border Patrol is unable to sustain a commitment to staffing that gate," he said. 

Friends for Friendship Park said they're not giving up. They're asking for a 120 day pause on construction to give time to consult with local leaders and organizations. 

The organization hopes their efforts will influence border patrol to reconsider its plan.

"Please now is the time to draw a line in the sand and fight for Friendship Park and fight for the idea that friendship is the best security we have," said Jim Brown with Friends for Friendship Park.

If border patrol follows through with the plan, Friends of Friendship Park believes the project could be completed as soon as next spring.

WATCH RELATED: Biden administration to finish border wall closing Friendship Park, community fights back (July 2022)

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