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Data for a Sample of Projects
In the Balboa Park study, 21 maintenance and upkeep projects are singled out for attention.

On March 8, at the first of a series of public forums held on the subject of Balboa Park’s future, Dr. Glen Sparrow said, “I want to emphasize these projects were chosen somewhat randomly. This is not a complete listing. This is a sample of some of the projects that need to be done, need to be maintained, and need capital funding for improvement.”

Dr. Sparrow is professor emeritus at the School of Public Administration and Urban Studies at San Diego State. He was also the project manager chosen to oversee the Balboa Park study.

And just how much are these 21 projects supposed to cost?

Two hundred thirty-nine million.

But Dr. Sparrow, and indeed the study itself, is careful to qualify this figure.

Dr. Sparrow said, “This is not a figure that should be used to say, ‘This is what needs to be done with the park.’ We don’t know what needs to be done with the park. That needs to be found out. After the governing and the financing process is completed, we need to do a master plan and a capital-improvements budget for the park. So that still lies ahead. The massive, big picture. What we have here is an incomplete listing. So it’s a start. But what we wanted to do was indicate what’s out there and emphasize the importance of these issues. Because, while the park is not falling apart in front of us, there are things underground and behind the scenes that need to be addressed.

“We sampled some of the institutions — some of the museums and theaters in the park — and we got their listing of their deferred maintenance and what they thought needed to be done to their buildings, which they lease from the city but in many instances have been spending their own money on to maintain.”

The following sample represents about a quarter of the 21 projects detailing necessary maintenance and upkeep in Balboa Park and is quoted directly from the Balboa Park study.

Arizona Landfill Reclamation
Project description: Approximately 77 acres on East Mesa that were formerly City landfill, proposal is to reestablish area as active parkland.

Funding: Cost estimate 2000: $61,600,000, cost estimate 2007: $86,700,000.

Centralize Park Irrigation
Project description: Replace and automate Park central control irrigation system.

Funding: Cost estimate 2005: $10,000,000; cost estimate 2007: $11,000,000.

Historical/Cultural Structures Central Mesa
The City of San Diego owns most of the buildings in the Central Mesa Area of the Park. Repair and maintenance of these buildings is the obligation of the City; however, the tenants themselves, including those listed below, have spent millions of dollars of their own money to maintain and improve these City structures. The following are some of the outstanding projects.

San Diego Air and Space Museum:
• Exterior building painting/repairs, $150,000 to $200,000

• Weather damage to wooden materials, $20,000 to $100,000

• Roadway around building is failing, $30,000 to $50,000

• Tree root is pushing concrete slab up, $500 to $ 5,000

• Lighting on front of building doesn’t work, $25,000 to $50,000

• Slope of parking lot directs rain run-off into museum’s front door, $10,000 to $20,000

• Insufficient drainage at front entrance, $7,500 to $15,000

San Diego Museum of Art:
Necessary maintenance and repairs, details available by request:

• Museum fluorescent lighting, $50,000

• West wing foyer (galleries 14 & 15) ceilings, $75,000

• Refinish Metalwork, $25,000

• Skylights, $500,000

• Illumination of main building ornamental façade (up-lighting), $15,000

• Library toilets, $7,500

• Water pressure regulators, $10,000

• East wing galleries suspended ceiling system, $50,000

• HVAC, $300,000

• Asbestos removal, $500,000

• Brace unsafe walls, $250,000

• Library fire suppression, $100,000

• Brace unsafe plaster ceilings, $75,000

• Fire exit, $250,000

• Fire alarm system replacement, $400,000

• Auditorium door closers, $7,500

• Main building ADA restrooms, $150,000

• Exterior walls, $10,000

• Front steps, $5,000

• Cast iron storm drain, $10,000

Timken Museum of Art
Replace lighting system, dimming switches, and replace ceilings. Estimated cost, $275,000 to $300,000.

Land Use Circulation and Parking
Project description: Parking space, tram, and parking structures recommended to improve accessibility to park and circulation of vehicles in the park.

Funding: Estimates have been made as high as $500,000,000.

Seismic Retrofit of Buildings in the National Landmark District
Project description: Seismic retrofit of existing structures within the National Landmark District, which is primarily the Central Mesa.

Funding: Cost estimate 2005: $46,500,000; cost estimate 2007: $51,266,250.

Saturday in the Park…
Joan, 83, from Imperial Beach, is a small, curly haired woman. She’s in robust health and attributes this to her love of walking.

“I come to the park only every other month or so,” Joan says. “And when I come here, I just walk around. Maybe I’ll go to a museum. I’m a member of the Natural History Museum.”

Joan rates the park a perfect ten, saying, “If it weren’t here, where would we go?”

She’s never noticed any problems with the park and hasn’t ever thought about the park having problems. She even thinks the cost of parking is reasonable.

“You may have to walk a little further sometimes, but then, I’m a walkabout person, so I don’t really care.”

Tracy, 51, from East County, has come to the park today with her three kids. The kids are still in the science museum, and Tracy’s sitting in the sun by the main fountain, waiting for them.

“I come to the park about eight to ten times per year,” Tracy says. She visits the museums, goes to the zoo, and usually has lunch at the Prado. Her average stay is three to four hours.

Tracy thinks the quality of the parking varies. “If you come in the summer, it’s a little more difficult,” she says, “but it’s always feasible. It’s always doable.”

One thing Tracy doesn’t like is the idea of a parking garage.

“This is a beautiful park,” she says. “Where are they going to put it? It’s going to look like garbage.”

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