And according to the report, the city (which in effect owns the park) probably won’t see substantial improvement in its capacity to fund the venue through 2014.
But “The Future of Balboa Park: Funding, Management & Governance,” issued last month, doesn’t leave it at that. In fact, at 30 pages, it’s a pretty thorough follow-up to 2006’s privately funded “The Soul of San Diego: Keeping Balboa Park Magnificent in Its Second Century,” which included breakdowns on who exactly uses the park and for what. As such, it recommends the formation of a nonprofit agency to assist the city in management and fundraising.
On paper, the city’s Department of Park and Recreation is the park’s operator — but “The Soul of San Diego” noted that the park administration is essentially rudderless, with numerous public and private agencies involved in its day-to-day affairs.
The BPC, a citizens advisory committee appointed by the mayor, has rejected privatization as the answer to the park’s problems. The committee report cites St. Louis’ Forest Park as a successful operations model. Forest operates under a private partnership with the City of St. Louis’ parks department and since 1986 has raised millions toward the park’s maintenance.
The city, the new report recommends, should retain ultimate authority over park policies in order to limit potential losses of public control under the conservancy scenario. A discussion meeting on the new report was held Dec. 18. The study will go to the Park and Rec board later this month, eventually making its way to City Council.