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More Money for Mission Bay Park?

Voters in the City of San Diego decide next month how much of the money generated in Mission Bay Park will be used for park improvements. The city brings in about $30 million a year from leasing land

More Money for Mission Bay Park?

Voters in the City of San Diego decide next month how much of the money generated in Mission Bay Park will be used for park improvements. The city brings in about $30 million a year from leasing land to SeaWorld, hotels and other businesses in the park.  KPBS Reporter Ed Joyce has more.

The city set aside land in Mission Bay Park for commercial development.

The money earned was to be spent on park improvements but that hasn't happened.

Instead, the dollars have gone into the city's general fund.

Bob Ottilie is past chairman of the Mission Bay Park Committee.

Ottilie: We have a chance in proposition C to memorialize in the San Diego Charter what has always been referred to as the Mission Bay Compact.

The "compact" was a plan to finance the park's development largely through revenues generated by commercial leases.

He says that promise  was broken sometime after 1962.

Ottilie : For years and years and years we've all been concerned about finishing the park but there's simply no funds. But in fact, there are funds because those commercial developments that we put in our recreational park now generate $47 million a year to San Diego's general fund.

About $30 million comes from leases to SeaWorld, hotels and other businesses.

The other $17 million is from sales tax, permits, mooring fees and other sources.

He says Proposition C still provides money to the general fund - $23 million in the first year and caps that amount at $20 million a year after that.

Don Steele is a former city parks and recreation department employee.

Steele says Prop. C isn't necessary if the City Council and the Mayor do their jobs.

Steele: The city council, the manager and now the mayor have had and continue to have the authority to allocate those revenues in Mission Bay Park consistent with the infrastructure needs prescribed in the Mission Bay Master Plan and the Resource Management Plan. That continuing failure should be an embarrassment to all of us.

He says it's sad that only 8 percent of the lease-revenues have been spent on Mission Bay Park improvements.

Councilmembers Donna Frye and Kevin Faulconer say Proposition C is the best way to make sure that money generated by Mission Bay Park is used in the park as originally intended.

Ed Joyce, KPBS News.