SAN DIEGO — Chicano Park is getting a big facelift with $10 million from the state of California’s budget.
Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, Chicano Park muralists and representatives of the Chicano Park Steering Committee announced Friday that $7.5 million will go toward the museum at Chicano Park and $2.5 million will fund mural restorations.
At a news conference, Gonzalez detailed the park’s storied past, including the state’s decision to build a freeway that cut through the Barrio Logan community. Chicano Park is in the heart of Barrio Logan in Logan Heights, San Diego’s oldest Mexican-American neighborhood.
“The community rose up and said, ‘No. We are going to demand a place for our culture, our Chicano culture and a park for our neighborhood.’ And that’s how Chicano Park, 50 years ago, was started,” Gonzalez said.
The park hosts festivals throughout the year highlighting music and Aztec dance, the biggest being Chicano Park Day in April. It’s also the hub of an emerging arts district with galleries, boutiques, brewpubs and craft coffee shops nearby.
Home to more than 80 paintings on seven acres, Chicano Park has the largest concentration of Chicano murals in the world.
“Our murals have been recognized nationally. Everybody likes to look at them, but no body wants to pay to keep them updated. We’re doing that today,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez said she hopes the $10 million in state funds is the first step in ensuring the park is around for generations to come.
“It’s finally a day when the state is going to make some atonement. An atonement for the damage they caused and the damage they continue to cause by having broken up our community.”