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Balboa Park

Although the historic resources placed on the Most Endangered List are generally not presented in any order of prioritization, the current threat to Balboa Park, which would have a massively detrimental and irreversible impact on the Park's historic integrity and character, not to mention the public's future enjoyment of it, has elevated the current situation to the level of a high "red alert" on this year's list of critically endangered places.

Ostensibly proposed to improve Balboa Park in time for the 2015 Centennial of the Panama-California Exposition, the plan that is being pushed forward by Mayor Jerry Sanders through billionaire businessman Irwin Jacobs and his personally-appointed Plaza de Panama Committee does nothing to restore or enhance the historic setting as is being suggested. Instead, it serves only to implement an extensive and highly intrusive system of new automobile-friendly infrastructure that will, by design, desecrate the iconic entry ,Cabrillo bridge and the Spanish colonial architecture of the celebrated National Landmark historic district and increase the amount of cars and traffic within the core. Unable to legitimately justify this horribly misguided proposal, the Jacobs Team is trying to pull a bait-and-switch by focusing their argument on eliminating traffic from the Plaza de Panama. SOHO, along with our many partners, (over 20 groups) who are against the Jacobs Plan, are supporting a much more rational, gentler, effective, and cost-effective way to actually restore the Park's historic resources while opening up the Cabrillo Bridge and the Plaza to increased pedestrian use, laying the groundwork to eventually eliminate traffic in these areas altogether and to also create parking for the disabled, valet service and the general automobile user.

The fight to save Balboa Park from this latest threat may result in one of the biggest battles that SOHO has ever been faced with. While the organization would rather be spending our valuable resources of time, staff, and finances on more constructive efforts, it is SOHO's mission to protect San Diego's heritage from such misguided and shortsighted thinking such as this.

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