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Funding Lacking For Underground Parking At Balboa Park, Budget Analyst Says

A plan to finance construction of an underground parking structure next to Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park might not pencil out, the city of San Diego's Independent Budget Analyst concluded in a report issued today.

An aerial view of the proposed Plaza de Panama project slated to begin this year and be completed by the 2015 Centennial of Balboa Park.
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Above: An aerial view of the proposed Plaza de Panama project slated to begin this year and be completed by the 2015 Centennial of Balboa Park.

The garage is a major part of a wider, controversial plan to remove vehicles from the center of Balboa Park, which will be considered by the City Council on Monday. It would be built to replace parking spaces removed by the Plaza de Panama project, which is being pushed by Mayor Jerry Sanders.

While $31 million of the project's cost is expected to be covered by private donations, the city is set to contribute about $14 million for the parking structure. A bond taken out to pay for construction would mostly be repaid with revenue from paid parking in the building, according to the plan.

The IBA warned that if more people than expected opt to use free parking at Inspiration Point, across Park Boulevard, and use a free tram to reach their destination, the city might not be able to meet its annual $1.1 million debt service payment on the structure. The city expects to make $1.3 million in annual parking revenue, but the IBA said income could be $450,000 less.

The idea of charging for parking within the publicly owned park has drawn fire from the plan's opponents and some members of the City Council.

According to the IBA, the city plan also anticipates charging for parking at Balboa Park at special events throughout the year, something done now only during the December Nights festival. Failure to get support for that part of the proposal would reduce projected annual parking income by an additional $210,000.

Gerry Braun, the main spokesman for the mayor's office on the project, said all of the projections are based on assumptions.

"Ours rely on conservative assumptions made and verified by industry professionals,'' Braun said. "They will be happy to address the IBA's issues on Monday.''

Opponents of the plan are mainly against construction of a bridge that would carry traffic away from the Plaza de Panama and Plaza de California, but they have also cited concerns over the risk to the city's general fund, should parking revenues not keep pace with construction bond repayment obligations.

The City Council is scheduled to meet on the Plaza de Panama plan on Monday afternoon.

Comments

Avatar for user 'Hardcover'

Hardcover | July 7, 2012 at 9:41 a.m. ― 2 years, 4 months ago

The Plaza de Panama Comittee, I understand, had changed the parking capacity estimations three times now. Where they being conservative then, or now?
At a certain level of fee avoidance, the number of parking spaces goes down, not up. The whole plan is really a house of cards in so many ways.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | July 7, 2012 at 10:35 p.m. ― 2 years, 4 months ago

This is really disturbing.

The historical integrity of the park should be the priority, not how much money they can make off of parking.

Shame on the city of San Diego.

Find a way to pay for maintenance of the park without ruining it with parking structures.

I also take issue with this from the article :

"*The garage is a major part of a wider, controversial plan to remove vehicles from the center of Balboa Park, which will be considered by the City Council on Monday.*"

This makes it sound like removing cars from the plaza is controversial. It's not. Everybody wants the cars out, we just disagree with adding roads and parking structures within he park that detract from the historical integrity.

In this very article is a statement **OUTRIGHT ADMITTING** that public officials are aware that you **can** get rid of vehicles fom the plaza **without** building the controversial road and parking structure:

"*The IBA warned that if more people than expected opt to use free parking at Inspiration Point, across Park Boulevard, and use a free tram to reach their destination, the city might not be able to meet its annual $1.1 million debt service payment on the structure. The city expects to make $1.3 million in annual parking revenue, but the IBA said income could be $450,000 less.*"

It's just like I have been saying all along - - removing cars from the plaza can be accomplished for $100 by simply putting up cones.

The city's top priority s NOT removing automobiles from the plaza, but rather to turn our park into a money generating parking scheme.

Again, SHAME on the city.

Once we go own this road, that's it.

Say goodbye to the Balboa Park we all know and love!!

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | July 11, 2012 at 9:41 a.m. ― 2 years, 4 months ago

F**K paying for parking in Balboa park!!!

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