Statement: “More than 70 percent of the ZIP codes of people who visit that park (Balboa Park) do not live in the city of San Diego. They live in the county of San Diego and other areas,” said Pam Slater-Price, chairwoman of San Diego County’s Board of Supervisors, in a board meeting Sept. 28.

Determination: True

Analysis: Slater-Price said the county should fund programs within the city limits that impact everybody across the county. Balboa Park, she said, is not just a city asset and therefore the county should pitch in, too.

Slater-Price made the statement as the supervisors considered changes to their Neighborhood Reinvestment Program during a meeting on Sept. 28. She cited the statistic above to support her remarks that there are valuable programs — like sending artists and musicians to schools — worth supporting through the county’s controversial grant program.

The county’s program should keep doling out grants in these programs especially when other governments, like school districts and the city of San Diego, are making drastic cuts, she said.

But new rules for the program (which all five supervisors voted to pass) prohibit these grants from being spent on entertainment or personnel, and only allow spending on capital improvements like building projects. (The remarks in question are at about the 1 hour 45 minute mark in this video.)

Slater-Price’s statement is accurate, according to a 2008 study called “The Soul of San Diego: Keeping Balboa Park Magnificent in its Second Century.”

Three local philanthropy groups, the San Diego Foundation, the Parker Foundation and the Legler Benbough Foundation, funded the study. Though it’s a couple of years old, the study is used often by leaders of Balboa Park organizations and museums.

The study the statistic came from published the results of interviews that a consultant, the Morey Group, did with 1,955 people in the park and another 800 by phone.

Based on direct interviews, 6 percent were immediate neighbors (from zip codes surrounding the park), 18 percent lived in other places in San Diego City, 45 percent lived in San Diego County but outside the city, 11 percent lived outside the county in California, 15 percent were from other states and 4 percent were from outside the U.S. Thus, only 24 percent of persons in the Park actually live in the city of San Diego.

According to this study, 76 percent of the visitors to the park don’t live within city limits, making Slater-Price’s “more than 70 percent” citation true.

I didn’t come across any other studies trying to get to this same statistic. Have you seen any other studies I should know about? Please contact us.

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Please contact Kelly Bennett directly at or 619.325.0531 and follow her on Twitter: @kellyrbennett.

Kelly Bennett

Kelly Bennett is a former staff writer for Voice of San Diego.

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