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City’s policy to unconditionally expedite re-design of a city owned park: improving private revenue concert venue but degrading neighborhood use without public input or outside professional review.

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  Public Policies

Gallagher Square is a city owned park, leased to Padres L.P., located outside Petco Park stadium.

As promised to the taxpayers, G.S. (originally Park at the Park) was designed as an urban green refuge, for watching baseball games, and hosting events to enliven the neighborhood.

The redesign re-purposes the layout of the park to accommodate a PRIVATE concert venue for 10,000, degrading a much loved CITY owned community park.   

The City Administration supports expediting this proposed plan with no formal community input, environmental analysis, or sound study. 

The changes have irreversible negative impacts:  frequently reducing public access to the full park, eliminating shade trees and grass, and potentially significant negative health and environmental ramifications.

Large concerts will bring in substantial revenue for the Padres, but at the cost of a much needed urban park.  Moments to relax under shade trees are savored by residents and visitors alike.  Current concert prep already significantly locks out public access. A promised increase in “limited access” does not adhere to JUMA agreements or benefit public well-being.

Considering these impacts, the City’s Administration was irresponsible in not requiring community input and professional analysis of the substantive changes to a City Park.

840 K Street, San Diego, CA. 92101

Project Owner/Developer:
Padres L.P.

Contact Name/Email:
City of San Diego, MayorToddGloria@sandiego.gov

Project Architect/Designer:
Larimer Design Architecture and GroundLevel Landscape Architecture

nomination photo


  1. Laurie Madigan

    I have lived across the street from the Park at the Park for 21 years. The city-owned park was built as a community asset and for over 15 years was enjoyed by downtown residents and visitors alike on non-game days. People walked their dogs and picnicked on the grass under what are now mature trees and kids rolled jumble-tumble down the gently sloping, grassy hills. In 2019 the Padres LP renamed our community park, selling naming rights to an insurance company (Gallagher Square) and then built a large concert stage for which naming rights were also sol (Sycuan Stage). This once public park is now a private profit-making concert venue and is closed to the public more days during the year than it is open. Instead of having picnics and meeting our neighbors on the lawn in the evenings, our neighborhood is subject several times a month to rock and EDM concerts that blast unwanted “music” into our living rooms for hours at a time at decibel levels higher than the 90 dB that the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) deems to be dangerous to human hearing, health and safety. Now Mayor Todd Gloria and City staff are supporting a plan to ensure that Gallagher Square will never again be a 2.7-acre public park. Having turned down a citizen’s request for public review of the Padres LP plan to reconfigure the park into a permanent concert amphitheater, a ministerial permit is being issued to convert what was once an important community asset and natural, open greenspace into a profit center for the City and Padres LP; sharing a 30/70% split of profits from concerts that are harming thehealth and welfare of nearby residents. Shame on Mayor Gloria for continuing to tout his climate change credentials while supporting a project that will remove over 30 mature trees (to be replaced by less than half that number of smaller specimens) and create a downtown heat island by replacing 2.7 acres of precious natural grass with fake turf, which doesn’t have the cooling properties of grass but instead traps heat, running 10-30 degrees hotter than natural grass. So much for pursuing land use changes that make downtown neighborhoods more family friendly and that reduce climate change impacts. This is public policy at its very worst.

  2. Janet McDaniel

    Our neighborhood public park has become a private venue for the City and the Padres to use to their mutual financial benefit. The City should have mandated a CEQA review when the Padres proposed radical changes to the hardscape and landscape of Gallagher Square. Instead, it rubber-stamped the proposal. This is a dereliction of the City’s responsibility to manage its public parks…and is well-deserving of an Onion.

  3. Ken Hall

    What Mayor Todd Gloria and the Padres LP are trying to do to Gallagher Square is a travesty. I was at the ballpark recently for a game and was disappointed to see how bad this “green space” looked, with dead grass and an apparent abandonment of the commitment to maintain it the way it had been previously, as originally promised to voters. Now I understand why and am doubly disappointed to find out the Mayor’s office is ignoring standard planning and review procedures to push this through. Stinky onion!

  4. Tom Larimer

    My name is Tom Larimer, and I am the founding principal with Larimer Design Architecture. Our firm is working with the San Diego Padres on the Gallagher Square renovation project, which is being discussed online in this forum.

    It’s important to note that, from the outset, our firm received direction from the Padres to design a project that reflected the comments and concerns of East Village residents, local businesses, and City officials. In anticipation of celebrating Petco Park’s 20th anniversary, the goal was to create a better, more vibrant experience of all guests. The result is a $20+ million investment into the heart of East Village, with a design features brand new, modern public amenities such as a children’s playground and play area, a fenced, off-leash dog park, public art displays created by local artists, an improved wiffle ball field, temporary pickleball courts and a statue matchup that pays homage to two legendary Padres baseball players, Tony Gwynn and Trevor Hoffman.

    Separately, I’d like to point out the comments above about a loss of trees are not true. The renovated Gallagher Square will actually increase the number of trees. More to the point, the trees are regionally appropriate, native species. In addition, we have kept grass in specific areas of the park based on public and community input.

    This renovation will improve the experience for all visitors, allowing for portions of Gallagher Square to remain open more frequently. To this end, the design has been widely acclaimed by Padres fans across San Diego County.

    The mission of the San Diego Architectural Foundation is to promote open discourse related to our built environment, and we strongly believe that the proposed project exemplifies the all of the judging criteria for Orchid Awards, specifically:

    * Exemplifies good place making
    * Contributes to its surrounding context and adds to community character
    * Is skillfully and thoughtfully detailed and crafted, showing respect for materials and the community
    * Expresses something relevant to our time and place
    * Provides social and economic benefit to San Diegans
    * Encourages social interaction or a quiet moment
    * Elicits a sense of civic pride
    * Is technologically or environmentally innovative
    * Supports community building

    More information related to this project can be found on our website, at http://www.larimerdesign.com/gallagher-square
    This project is not deserving of an onion.

    We are proud to be a part of this team and look forward to unveiling the new, renovated Gallagher Square ahead of the 2024 Padres season.


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