Since 1970, Chicano Park has served as a beacon for San Diego’s Mexican-American community. As of this week, it’s one step closer to becoming a National Historic Landmark. With murals adorning the pillars, it’s been a place for people to showcase their art. But for decades it’s also been where Latinos have met for organizing. Located in Barrio Logan – in the middle of a neighborhood that takes so much pride in its Chicano identity – it’s obvious that the park has local importance. However, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune, only places that are important to the country’s history earn this national designation.
“Chicano Park is a cultural mecca that highlights the activist and artistic contributions of our local community,” said Rep. Juan Vargas. “I am very glad to know that we are one step closer to preserving the vibrant history and culture of Chicano Park, a feat that would guarantee that future generations will be able to enjoy the history of the community in Barrio Logan.”
The bill seeking Chicano Park’s National Historic Landmark designation was unanimously approved by a congressional committee on Wednesday. And now, before the end of the 114th Congress, the House of Representatives is considering the bill.
After the San Diego-Coronado Bridge was built in 1969, the space beneath was planned to be a California Highway Patrol substation. But after complaints from those in the neighborhood, it became the 7.4-acre park that has a special place in history. In 2013, federal officials added the park to the National Register of Historic Places, a roster that includes 90,000 other properties. Only 2,500 places are National Historic Landmarks.