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Chris Ward Wants $9.5M To Spruce Up ‘Embarrassing’ Balboa Park

The Balboa Park Botanical Building and Lily Pond are shown in this photo, Nov...

Photo by KPBS Staff

Above: The Balboa Park Botanical Building and Lily Pond are shown in this photo, Nov. 24, 2016.

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After the collapse of plans to revamp Balboa Park’s Plaza de Panama, San Diego City Councilman Chris Ward wants the city the use that money to upgrade the city’s signature park.

Aired: May 7, 2019 | Transcript

After the collapse of plans to revamp Balboa Park’s Plaza de Panama, San Diego City Councilman Chris Ward wants the city the use that money to upgrade the city’s signature park.

Ward, whose district includes Balboa Park, and leaders from the park’s core institutions want Mayor Kevin Faulconer to reinvest the $9.5 million in capital improvement funds to spruce up facilities through out the park.

At a news conference Monday, Ward said despite being a cultural icon for San Diego, Balboa Park has deteriorated.

“Park conditions are embarrassing and must be addressed, so I will continue advocating for a new Balboa Park Master Plan Project Implementation Plan to prioritize park improvements requested by the community and stakeholders,” he said.

The city has previously identified tens of millions of dollars in unfunded maintenance and capital improvements in the park, from erosion control to roof repair to bathroom improvements.

“There are clear, immediate infrastructure needs here in Balboa Park and they are best illustrated by the dismal conditions of public restrooms throughout the park,” said Joyce Gattas, chairwoman of the Balboa Park Conservancy. “The restoration of public restrooms, especially in the Palisades, is essential to improving the overall visitor experience that this park relies on.”

John Bolthouse, executive director of the nonprofit Friends of Balboa Park, said Faulconer and the City Council “have a golden opportunity to begin a real rebirth for Balboa Park.”

“What a better way for the mayor and City Council to make a statement for future lovers of Balboa Park than to stand together and ensure next year's budget reflects the pride we all have for the park,” he said.

After the collapse of plans to revamp Balboa Park’s Plaza de Panama, San Diego City Councilman Chris Ward wants the city the use that money to upgrade the city’s signature park.

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Andrew Bowen contributed to this story.

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