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City Of San Diego and its Park & Recreation Department
Plaza de People Award

Members of North Park Historical SocietyThe decades-old problem of a "parking madhouse," as one journalist put it, in the heart of Balboa Park was re-paved and eliminated with little fuss and a modest budget. Gone are the parking stripes and signs that for years high-jacked what was designed to be a grand pedestrian plaza and cross-traffic through the park is under control. We can look forward to celebrating the centennial of the 1915 Exposition by strolling and mingling in the vast, open Plaza de Panama, without fear of being run over. The restoration of the space was done in keeping with the spirit of the original plans of the 1915 Exposition architects and designers, maintaining its character-defining features, and still allowing for its further restoration. In removing the parking lot and reconfiguring the Plaza de Panama the city reclaimed the space as a plaza for the people. After a difficult couple of years with a larger project, the city came through with a winning solution. The City Park and Recreation Department staff made the changeover appear effortless to onlookers and users of the park. This simple yet elegant project showcases our city at its very best.

(Left to right - Gary Pence, Walter Gefrom, Bruce Martinez, John Helminski, Edgar Puente, Charlie Daniels, and Mario Llanos.) Photo by Sandé Lollis

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2476 San Diego Avenue · San Diego CA 92110 · Phone (619) 297-9327
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