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6 a.m., Feb. 22
The National Park Service has come out against Irwin Jacobs's plan to clear traffic from the Plaza de Panama in Balboa Park by constructing a Cabrillo Bridge bypass road that would lead to a new parking garage behind the Organ Pavilion.
The Plaza de Panama project, partially financed by Jacobs and supported by the mayor and all mayoral candidates except for Bob Filner, has drawn the ire from residents and the historical preservationist group Save Our Heritage Organisation. They say that the new bypass road would ruin a historical landmark and mar the aesthetics of the park.
The National Park Service agrees. In a letter to councilmember Kevin Faulconer, associate director of cultural resources Dr. Stephanie Toothman said the project would have a "permanent, major and adverse effect on the integrity of the Balboa Park National Historical Landmark...
"The Project will physically destroy a part of the [National Historic Landmark] property, and the Project will introduce visual elements and spatial changes that will diminish the integrity of the property's historic features."
Toothman adds that the proposal to add two reflecting pools would give a "false sense of history... This suggests that the pools would be conjectural and not reconstructions of the 1935 pools."
In summary, the letter supports statements from Save Our Heritage Organisation and others that say there are easier alternatives to removing traffic from the plaza. "The [National Park Service] believes there are viable, less-costly alternatives that would reduce or eliminate private vehicular traffic from the core without the significant impacts to the integrity" of the Cabrillo Bridge. http://sandiegoreader.com/users/photo...