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What's next for Harborside Park? Chula Vista continues to look for solutions

Chula Vista scheduled a community meeting to gather the public’s input and help “reimagine” the site.

CHULA VISTA, Calif. — A community meeting was held at Harborside Elementary School to discuss how to “Reimagine Harborside Park.” 

After the recent closure of Harborside Park, Chula Vista scheduled a community meeting to gather the public’s input on what would be the best solution for that site.

For parents and the Chula Vista Unified School District–the safety of their kids continues to be the top priority. 

“For us the Chula Vista Elementary school district, our number one priority is the safety of our students. We want to make sure that they feel safe, secure, praised and valued,” said Dr. Eduardo Reyes, the superintendent for the Chula Vista Unified School District. 

Councilmembers closed the park because of growing concerns over reported crime and drug use. The issue has been the center of a public debate over homelessness and public safety–especially because the park is right next to the elementary school.

The closure is only temporary, which is why parents at the meeting are demanding the city take a stronger approach to the issue.

“For me, it’s a concern that they can start seeing this as 'okay' to live that way,” said April Cellero, who has a son attending Harborside Elementary School. 

While the meeting started the discussion to brainstorm solutions, some parents tell CBS 8 they fear the city won’t decide a solution– discouraging families and exploring the option to leave the area.

“I feel bad because I have family members in Mexico, but this is for the future of my kids,” said Marcella Antoniewicc, she and her husband were the first to spark concerns about the issues surrounding the park. 

Councilmember John McCann was present at the meeting and CBS 8 questioned him on his solutions for the park. CBS 8 also asked if there are any additional resources for the unsheltered.

While he did not give a clear answer on a solution for the park, he did mention a homeless shelter opening up next year. 

“We have already broken ground on putting together a state of the art homeless facility–a bridge shelter,” said McCann.

Harborside Park remains closed after the city approved a 90-day closure that is expected to end in November, but families say their concerns have not been taken seriously and after this meeting they were still left questioning what is next.

WATCH RELATED: City of Chula Vista forces homeless people out of Harborside Park (August 2022)

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