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San Diego City Council To Vote On Balboa Park Centennial Agreement Termination

Photo by Susan Murphy

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer address the media to discuss plans to celebrate Balboa Park's 100th birthday on March 28, 2014.

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A deal that would terminate agreements between the city of San Diego and Balboa Park Centennial Inc. is scheduled to go before the San Diego City Council on Tuesday.

A deal that would terminate agreements between the city of San Diego and Balboa Park Centennial Inc. is scheduled to go before the San Diego City Council on Tuesday.

BPCI worked for three years to plan a year-long celebration for 2015, with little to show for their efforts. The nonprofit folded in March.

The deal before the council includes Balboa Park Centennial returning to the city whatever money it hasn't spent yet. A spokeswoman for City Council President Todd Gloria says that'll likely be $250,000. That's out of the $1 million the city gave BPCI.

Gerry Braun, who is winding down the activities of BPCI, said talks between the two sides took two months to complete. 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 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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