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I have been reporting on the needs for Mission Bay Park, but it is not alone in the need for capital improvements. The recent traffic circulation and parking study in Balboa Park has identified several hundred million dollars in needed capital improvements to resolve parking and traffic issues in the park; the San Diego Zoo has proposed improvements to the east side of the park that could total approximately $500 million.

As members of the Park and Rec. Board, Kevin Faulconer, myself and others initially balked at passing on the zoo’s proposed capital improvements when it was clear there was no realistic way, today, to raise $500 million for their improvements. We also expressed serious concern at the expenditure of millions of dollars on the parking and transportation study when the funds were not available for that project.

As we are doing in Mission Bay Park, serious efforts are now being taken to develop a funding plan for these capital improvements at Balboa Park. We have spent millions of dollars on plans for improving those parks and it is important to have a strategy for procuring the funds and yearly benchmarks to see if we are staying on course. You can never get to a destination until you have a road map to know where you are headed and an odometer that lets you know that you are getting some miles behind you.

From my involvement on the Park and Rec. Board and the Mission Bay Park Committee, I have had an opportunity to see how many services have been provided to San Diegans through its excellent parks and recreation program. It is one department that provides more than just basic necessities (like streets, sewer and police) to our citizens. So much of the quality of life of every San Diegan is formed by the services provided through our great Park and Rec. Department. Completing improvements to Balboa Park, in addition to Mission Bay Park, will substantially enhance our community.

BOB OTTILIE

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