San Diego — Encountering another layer of opposition, the plan to remove cars from the heart of Balboa Park in San Diego has seemingly hit a new snag. At issue is whether or not the proposed modifications to the park endanger its current national historic landmark designation (NHLD)
As the state’s historic preservation officer, former local architect, Milford Wayne Donaldson has enlisted the help of the National Park service. His objective is investigating how the proposed project might jeopardize the “privileges conveyed by the NHLD, including protections, priorities for funding etc.” The park service is the overseeing entity of the NHLD.
In a recent article published in the San Diego Union Tribune however, David Marshall, historic consultant on the park plan, cited a critical differentiation that exists between rehabilitation projects versus restoration projects. In restorations, structures and surroundings are brought back to an approximation of the original as much as possible. In rehabilitations by contrast, the focus is on creating new uses and introducing new elements to complement the historic basis.
Proposed revisions to the park’s current usage call for a reworking of the central Plaza de Panama into an all-pedestrian promenade. The objective is to eliminate automobile traffic and subsequent parking; add a proposed 798-space garage parking garage south of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion; and incorporate a bypass bridge diverting traffic from the Cabrillo Bridge on the west directly into the new parking structure.
The same article also pointed out that Balboa Park has not received any federal grant monies in the last 13 years and that most government grant funding directed to the park is sourced from the state of California.
Union Tribune news documents – Letter to Stephanie Toothman, National Park Service, from Milford Wayne Donaldson, FAIA, State Historic Preservation Officer.
National Park Service asked to look at Balboa Park plans, Roger Showley, San Diego Union-Tribune, Feb. 7, 2012
Photo Credit: Auxesis (Lindsay Holmwood), Flickr Creative Commons