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The San Diego River Discovery Center at Grant Park

Latest News: March 1, 2020
Phase 1A scheduled to be completed by March 15th!


Current work: installation of project stormwater system, rough grading, perimeter stack and mortared retaining walls and temporary sound barrier. In addition, riparian and upland restoration work, non-native plant removal and irrigation installation is ongoing.

Thank you to everyone who helped get the project to this point!


Next Steps: Fundraising to keep project moving!

There are several phases planned, and your help is needed to keep this project moving forward on schedule. Donations of all amounts are needed and appreciated.

A Founder's Circle has been created for anyone who is in a position to pledge or donate $25,000 or more. Gifts can be fullfilled over 4 years. This group will have the opportunity to meet with the project architect and get special behind the scene tours.

For more information, please contact our CEO, Rob Hutsel at 619-297-7380x108.

Mail In Pledge and Donation Form

Donate Online Now Through Secure PayPal

Imagine a place that brings people together to foster a sense of community, provides greatly needed park space and reawakens connections to the region’s namesake river.

Imagine a place that advances an understanding of the San Diego River and promotes stewardship of this important ecological and cultural resource so that it thrives into the future.

Imagine a place that provides hands-on science based nature education and experiences to 25,000 kids each year! For many of these kids, it will be their very first experience!


Imagine a place which celebrates the San Diego River as an important ecological resource and inspires the next generation of River and nature stewards. This is the new River Education and Stewardship Center, and you can make it possible!

Background: More than a decade in the making!
In May 2009, this vision of a new place where people could enjoy and connect with the San Diego River took a major step forward when the San Diego River Park Foundation signed a donation agreement with a remarkable family, the Grants. This longstanding San Diegan family decided to donate their 17-acre river-fronting property to benefit the community of Mission Valley and San Diego in general.

With this inspiring action, the San Diego River Discovery Center at Grant Park was born.

This 17-acre site is in the heart of Mission Valley. Prominently located at the northeast corner of Qualcomm Way and Camino del Rio North, the site is easily accessible by foot, bicycle, trolley, bus and automobile.

With comments such as "In your career you get to work on some cool projects, and this is one of them," the City of San Diego Planning Commission unanimously voted to approve the major permit for the project! A fantastic turnout of supporters erupted in applause.

With approval of this permit, we immediately began work on the next steps needed to move closer to breaking ground. We began advancing the design based upon our approved permit and preparing the grading permit application. In took nearly a year, but the grading permit was finally approved by the City of San Diego and grading started in October of 2019.

We are focusing attention on raising funds to open the Center. We have divided the effort into phases.

  • Next: Phase 1B: $110,000 left to raise.
  • Phase 1C: Complete underground utilities, build the expanded landscaped walkway along Camino del Rio N, submit the final building design to the City for approval, install the driveway and prepare the site for the final phase.
  • Phase 2 - Construct the two buildings, park, outdoor seating, River Pathway elevated walkway and other elements
  • Phase 3 - Final Phase - Install exhibits, signs, art features and the final touches to prepare for opening the Center!

    Please call 619-297-738 for information

    COMMENTS and QUESTIONS are invited! Click here to send us an email with your thoughts and questions

    Public tours of the facility led by our CEO, Rob Hutsel, are available for interested groups on Fridays and Saturdays. Open tours will also be announced.

    If you would like to schedule a tour or learn more about how you can be part of this project, please contact Rob Hutsel, President and CEO at 619-297-7380 x108 or by email.

    Donate Online Now Through Secure PayPal

Other Donation Options
1. By Mail: Send a check payable to " The San Diego River Park Foundation" to PO Box 80126, San Diego, CA 92138 or print form.

2. By Phone: (619) 297-7380 9AM - 6PM Monday - Friday to make a donation by credit or bank card over the phone.

Our EIN is 01-0565671
As a 501 c3 public benefit non-profit, your donation is tax-deductible as allowed by law.


Lead Architect: Roesling Nakamura Terada Architects

Primary Consultants:
MIG Landscape Architecture
Rick Engineering
RECON Environmental
Dusty Ucker, Project Manager


General Contractor:

Pacific Building Group

Other Ways to Be Involved

  • Join the Team ECO; volunteer on Fridays to help care for the site - later gardeners, docents and other volunteers will be needed. Please let us know of your interest!
  • Estate and Planned Gifts to support future operations
  • Graphic and web design assistance needed
  • Fundraising and Interpretive Planning Committee
  • Marketing and event planning




Major Gifts Received

$100,000 or +
Cookie and Tom Sudberry
Pat Grant, DVM
Westfield LLC
Alta Company LLC
Philip R. Pryde
The Parker Foundation

Founder's Circle
$25,000 - $99,999

Alliance Data
SEAT Planners, Inc.
Sempra Energy Foundation

Principal Life Insurance Company (Hazard Center)
San Diego Gas & Electric
San Diego Kiwanis Club Foundation
Fay Riha
Price Philanthropies Foundation
Claude A. and Johann S. Petty Foundation
Claude Petty and Luis Mandujano
RECON Environmental
Rob Hutsel & Karen Begin

Bill and Ann Dahnke

Up to $24,999
Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this project so far!!

This reflects donations, grants and pledges received.

This list will be updated on regular basis.
Thank you to all donors!

Special thanks to all who have put the Discovery Center at Grant Park in your estate plans!
If you are interested in learning more about this opportunity, please contact our CEO,
Rob Hutsel, at
619-297-7380 x 108.


A limited number of park benches are available for dedication at $5000 and $10,000.

Call the Rob at 619-297-7380 x108 to select your bench location and learn more.


Donate $500 to the Building Fund for the project and a cool engraved river rock will be placed in the River of Discovery art feature!
These make great tribute and help build the project.

Reserve your rock today »