Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressman Juan Vargas (CA-51)
Oct 28, 2020
Rep. Vargas wrote a letter to NPS requesting that the reconnaissance survey be conducted
Washington, D.C. (October 28, 2020)— The National Park Service (NPS) will undertake a reconnaissance survey to recognize the national significance of Chicano Park and its murals as an affiliated area of the National Park System.
This comes after a hearing on Rep. Juan Vargas (CA-51)’s legislation H.R. 484, the Chicano Park Preservation Act of 2019 in front of the U.S. of House Representative’s Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands hearing on Oct. 29, 2019. The bill would require the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a thorough study of San Diego’s Chicano Park to evaluate its national significance.
At the hearing, NPS expressed their openness to conducting the necessary study through administrative action rather than needing passage of the bill. After the hearing, Rep. Vargas sent a follow up letter to the NPS urging them to conduct the necessary study administratively.
“I’m very pleased to learn that the National Park Service will begin their preliminary assessment of Chicano Park early next year. The National Park Service affiliation will help protect the park’s longevity and legacy,” said Rep. Vargas.
NPS affiliation would allow Chicano Park to be recognized, preserved, and protected as an American history landmark. The affiliation would also make Chicano Park eligible for technical or financial aid from NPS.
“Chicano Park is our spiritual home and represents a defining moment of victory for the Barrio Logan and Chicano community,” said Rep. Vargas. “I will continue my work in Congress to ensure that Chicano Park is eligible and recognized as an affiliated site of the National Park System.”
Chicano Park was created after a group of dedicated residents came together to boycott the construction of a highway patrol station on the site of what is now Chicano Park.
Full text of the NPS response is available here: NPS response to recon survey request_Rep Vargas_REDACTED.pdf
Vargas represents California’s 51st Congressional District which includes the southern portion of San Diego County, all of Imperial County and California’s entire U.S.-Mexico border. Vargas was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012 and is currently serving his fourth term in Congress. He serves on the House Financial Services Committee.