Balboa Park Centennial Planning Group Disbands
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Aired 3/5/14 on KPBS Midday Edition.
Gerry Braun, media outreach coordinator for the now disbanded Balboa Park Celebration Inc., and transition director for the event
Bruce Coons, Executive Director, Save Our Heritage Organisation (SOHO) (TV ONLY)
Balboa Park's 2015 Centennial Celebration board of directors voted Tuesday to disband and transfer all organizing authority to the city of San Diego.
"This decision was the result of long and careful consideration of the obligations spelled out in the BPCI Memorandum of Understanding with the City of San Diego and, most importantly, our responsibility to the people of San Diego," organizers stated on the Balboa Park Celebration, Inc. web site.
The original vision of the event was a "year-long celebration of global significance that would boost the regional economy and generate hundreds of thousands of room nights in local hotels," according to the web site.
But the group determined it would cost tens of millions of dollars, and donations and funding fell short.
The announcement comes on the heels of a U-T San Diego report that organizers missed deadlines, pushed aside groups that wanted to be involved and exaggerated over funding and partnerships.
Mayor Kevin Faulconer said he will work with Council President Todd Gloria, whose district includes Balboa Park, on a more realistic celebration that recognizes the character and history of the park.
"This new celebration would focus on the existing cultural institutions within the park," said Faulconer in a released statement.
Gloria also offered support for bringing the 2015 Centennial planning back to the city.
"The board’s move today demonstrates its desire to do what is best for Balboa Park, and the city of San Diego will use BPCI’s efforts as a base of what may be possible to commemorate the 2015 centennial of the Panama-California Exposition,” said Gloria.
Faulconer and Gloria said they plan to provide more details on their plans in the coming weeks.