On October 12, I joined with Mayor Jerry Sanders and many philanthropic and cultural leaders to announce an important step to sustain and strengthen Balboa Park as a public park. A new task force will develop a new nonprofit public-benefit entity to work with the City‟s Park and Recreation Department on fundraising and park management.
Balboa Park has been the jewel of the park system and the jewel of the City for nearly 100 years. It is a source of pride and inspiration for San Diegans and visitors. Ongoing investment and oversight of the park will guarantee its strong future, and the task force will get us closer to that result.
This task force is the latest in a lengthy process in planning for the park‟s continued viability. After nine months of public hearings, the Balboa Park Committee determined that the park would best be served through the creation of a new nonprofit organization connected to the City.
To ensure an appropriate fundraising and governance foundation is built for Balboa Park, Vicki Granowitz answered the call to chair the task force and engage the public in a dialogue about a potential organization‟s design.
This diverse group of stakeholders will hold public meetings over the next six months. Topics to be discussed include: the relationship between the City and park support organizations; potential changes to the municipal code, council policies and the City Charter; and the structure of the new governance body. The role of the public organization will also be considered.
While the work ahead for the task force will be difficult, and the questions to answer are many, privatizing the park is not on the agenda of this task force and should not be considered at any time.
I know the task force members share my passion for the park and my commitment that Balboa Park will always remain the property of the people of San Diego and the City will remain responsible for its operation.
I am excited for the public to participate with the task force and to see the structure it recommends to ensure the future of Balboa Park.