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A punch in the gut of Balboa Park

Written by U-T San Diego Editorial Staff
1/31/13 - San Diego Union Tribune - Original article

The Superior Court ruling this week throwing major doubt over the $45 million plan to clear cars and parking from the heart of Balboa Park was a punch in the gut to hopes of preserving the park's historic beauty and making it a more pedestrian-friendly place.

In a nine-page tentative ruling, Judge Timothy Taylor said he was aware of "the very real possibility" that his decision might cause philanthropist Irwin Jacobs and his committee to abandon efforts to raise money "for a long-desired project" and that the ruling might "at a minimum render very difficult a centennial celebration (of the 1915 Panama-California Exposition in the park) along the lines hoped for by so many" in 2015. He said he agrees "that the positives from the project seem to far outweigh the negatives." He said "the loss of the generous funding offered" by Jacobs "will be a sad day for San Diego." He even said that the opposition of the Save Our Heritage Organisation, which had taken the project to court, "seems shortsighted."

But, he said, "the law is the law" and he had reached "the reluctant conclusion" that the city had violated its own Municipal Code and therefore its approval of the project should be set aside.

We can only hope that in a follow-up hearing today, the city and Jacobs committee can convince Judge Taylor not to make his ruling permanent.

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