Three major San Diego philanthropic groups have teamed up to study the costs of running Balboa Park and the potential for tapping private donors in helping finance its future operations.

The move is the latest sign that recommendations from a recent report, funded by the Legler Benbough Foundation, which called for a major overhaul in the way the city-owned park is managed, are gaining steam. Last week, a community planning group hosted a panel discussion on whether a private conservancy should be formed to run Balboa.

However, the three foundations say their report will focus on gathering facts, not making recommendations.

“Because of the importance of Balboa Park, any changes should be based on input from a broad constituency and, most importantly, should be based on an understanding of all relevant facts. At the present time, those facts are not available,” Benbough Foundation President Peter Ellsworth said in a press release.

The San Diego and Parker foundations said they will also help fund the report.

City officials have estimated that it costs taxpayers $14 million per year to pay for the operations of the park, though they say it is currently impossible to calculate the cost of the law enforcement services provided there.

Both Mayor Jerry Sanders and City Councilwoman Toni Atkins, whose district includes Balboa Park, have given their support to the study.


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