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Balboa Park Centennial Group OKs Deal To End Agreement With City

The Botanical Building is seen between columns of a walkway at Balboa Park in...

Photo by Jon Sullivan

Above: The Botanical Building is seen between columns of a walkway at Balboa Park in San Diego in this undated photograph.

After two months of negotiations, a deal that would terminate agreements with a volunteer group that tried to stage a yearlong celebration of Balboa Park's centennial is scheduled to go before the San Diego City Council next week.

Gerry Braun, who is winding down the activities of Balboa Park Centennial Inc., told City News Service that talks between the two sides have been completed. The organization's board of directors has approved the deal to terminate a memorandum of understanding and a funding agreement, he said.

BPCI's board voted to disband about two months ago and turn over planning activities to the city. The organization was unable to attract enough private dollars to put on a major extravaganza and was caught in a dispute over whether to release financial records.

The negotiations over terminating the MOU and funding agreement were drawn-out in part because the city wanted to avoid taking on potential liabilities.

The City Council will consider whether to ratify the deal at Tuesday's meeting.

According to city documents, the termination agreement will result in the reimbursement of unspent city funds and the completion of required reports by BPCI.

The city will also reserve the right to investigate the group's use of $1.6 million in city funds and seek recovery of any misspent municipal money. BPCI could also turn over any remaining private funds, which the city would then use for their intended purpose of staging a celebration.

The termination also maintains that the city and BPCI are separate entities, and the city will not accept any of the group's liabilities.

City officials are in the process of planning a scaled-down celebration at the 1,200-acre park. The centennial will mark 100 years since the 1915 Panama-California Exposition brought international attention to the city.

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