South County's Friendship Park Celebrates 50 Years – KPBS

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Wednesday, August 18, 2021
By Alexandra Rangel
Credit: AP Photo / Gregory Bull
Above: A man passes at Friendship Park, near where the border separating Tijuana, Mexico, and San Diego meets the Pacific Ocean, Jan. 19, 2021, in Tijuana, Mexico.
Fifty years ago Wednesday, then-first lady Pat Nixon visited the westernmost end of the U.S.-Mexico border where San Diego meets Tijuana.
Nixon then inaugurated the surrounding area as Border Field State Park.
Aired 8/18/21 on KPBS News
Listen to this story by Alexandra Rangel.
The County Board of Supervisors recognized the day by declaring Aug. 18, 2021, International Friendship Day.
RELATED: Port Of Entry Podcast: Fifty Years Of Friendship Park
John Fanestil, executive director of Via International, says the park has long served as a meeting place where people can hug their loved ones through the border fence, but in recent years border patrol restrictions have increased.
“It’s not an inviting place on the U.S. side at all, that needs to change,” Fanestil said.
People aren’t able to gather like they used to. Local advocates are hoping to restore Friendship Park back to its true purpose.
They also have a vision to eventually create an open binational park.
Jim Brown with Public Architecture says a similar park already exists on the Canadian border.
“We have envisioned an 80-acre binational park; 40 acres on each side of the border,” Brown said.
“We believe it’s time to send a message to our citizens and to our governments. This would be a wonderful thing to have instead of the militarized situation that is on the border currently,” he said.
Friends of Friendship Park has a list of events happening this week to celebrate the park’s anniversary. For more information visit Friendshippark50.org
Reported by Alexandra Rangel , Video by Mike Damron
On August 18, 1971, First Lady Pat Nixon stood at the place at the southwestern most point of the U.S.-Mexico border and celebrated what was envisioned as “International Friendship Park.” … Read more →
Aired: August 18, 2021 | Transcript
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Alexandra Rangel
Freelance Reporter

opening quote marksopening quote marksI am a freelance reporter covering the latest news and issues surrounding the San Diego community. I’m always looking to shed light on issues that would otherwise go unreported.

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