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Plaza de Panama

2011 Project Coverage


KFMB News Coverage of Video Press Conference (KFMB-TV: November 28, 2011)

KUSI News Coverage of Video Press Conference (KUSI-TV: November 29, 2011)

KSWB News Coverage of Video Press Conference (KSWB-TV: November 29, 2011)

Balboa Park Bridge Proposal Unveiled (NBC San Diego: November 29, 2011)

Backers of Balboa Park Traffic Plan Unveil Video (Fox 5 San Diego: November 28, 2011)

Video Shows New Plan for Balboa Park Traffic (San Diego Union-Tribune: November 28, 2011)

What Plaza de Panama Renovations Look Like (Voice of San Diego: November 28, 2011)

Jacobs Releases Video Promoting His Balboa Park Plan (KPBS: November 28, 2011)

KUSI Walking Tour Series Kick-off Coverage (KUSI News: September 7, 2011)

CW 6 Walking Tour Series Kick-off Coverage (XETV: September 7, 2011)

NBC 7 Walking Tour Series Kick-off Coverage (KNSD: September 7, 2011)

ABC 10 Walking Tour Series Kick-off Coverage (KGTV: September 7, 2011)

Bill Walton Takes a Walk in Balboa Park (Voice of San Diego: September 7, 2011)

Basketball Legend Joins Plaza de Panama Team (NBC San Diego: September 7, 2011)

Plaza de Panama Kicks Off Public Walking Tour Series (Yahoo! Finance: September 7, 2011)


Philanthropist-in-chief (San Diego Union-Tribune: August 25, 2011)

Should Balboa Park be Redone? Member Survey Results (Voice of San Diego: August 11, 2011)

Balboa Park In Transition — Keep It Moving (San Diego Source: August 4, 2011)

Group Sues City Of San Diego Over Plaza De Panama Project (KPBS: August 3, 2011)

In Balboa Park Legal Fight, Both Sides Use the Same Case (Voice of San Diego: August 3, 2011)

Lawsuit Slows Balboa Park Renovations (NBC San Diego: August 3, 2011)

Preservationists Sue City Over Balboa Park Plan (San Diego Union-Tribune: August 2, 2011)

What Mayoral Candidates Say About Balboa Park Makeover (Voice of San Diego: August 2, 2011)

Saving the Heritage of Balboa Park (San Diego Union-Tribune: July 18, 2011)

Balboa Park's Contested Parking Plan: A View from the Ground (Voice of San Diego: July 17, 2011)

Moving Forward in Forefather's Footsteps (San Diego Union-Tribune: July 16, 2011)

Needed: a diplomat for Balboa Park (San Diego Union-Tribune: May 22, 2011)

Will 2015 expo make Balboa Park a 5-star attraction? (San Diego Union-Tribune: May 21, 2011)

A view of the bridge (San Diego CityBeat: May 17, 2011)

On Balboa Park (part 2) (Two Cathedrals: May 17, 2011)

On Balboa Park (part 1) (Two Cathedrals: May 16, 2011)

Letter to the Editor from Dr Jacobs (San Diego Union-Tribune: May 13, 2011)

Balboa Park traffic spat, Part 2 (San Diego Union-Tribune: May 10, 2011)

Lawsuits could jeopardize Balboa Park plan (San Diego Union-Tribune: May 9, 2011)

Cars and people don’t mix – restore park’s grandeur (San Diego Union-Tribune: May 8, 2011)

What's in the Balboa Park plan (San Diego Union-Tribune: May 8, 2011)

Balboa Park makeover in the works (San Diego Downtown News: May 5, 2011)

Plaza de Panama Project on San Diego People (KUSI: April 10, 2011)

  • Editor's note: The image of the bypass bridge shown on this program has been altered without the permission of the Plaza de Panama Committee. The official designs from the design team are available here.

Balboa Park makes list of "coolest" city parks (April 12, 2011)

Alternatives debated on Jacobs' park plan (San Diego Union-Tribune:  Mar 31, 2011)

Plaza de Panama plan focus of coming events (San Diego Union-Tribune:  Mar 24, 2011)

Cabrillo Bridge Choices Headed to Balboa Park Committee (San Diego Union-Tribune: Feb. 2, 2011)

Redesigning Balboa Park's Plaza de Panama (North Park News: Jan. 31, 2011)

A City of Great Public Spaces (San Diego Union-Tribune: Jan. 16, 2011)

Community Members Weigh in on the Future of Balboa Park's Plaza de Panama (San Diego News Room: Jan. 13, 2011)

Irwin Jacobs' Ladder (San Diego Citybeat: Jan. 12, 2011)

Renovation Plans Considered for Balboa Park ( Jan. 11, 2011)

Four Reasons to be Optimistic (Voice of San Diego: Jan. 10, 2011)

Balboa Park May Get a Makeover (NBC San Diego: Jan. 9, 2011)

Ban Cars from Park Bridge, Public Says (San Diego Union Tribune: Jan. 8, 2011)

Plan Would Remove Cars from the Center of Balboa Park ( m: Jan. 7, 2011)

Balboa Park Renovation Plan Under Fire ( Jan. 6, 2011)

Balboa Park Parking Plan Draws Fire (KPBS: Jan. 6, 2011)

Jacobs, SOHO Trade Blows on Balboa Park (San Diego Union Tribune: Jan. 4, 2011)


2010 Project Coverage

Four San Diego Parks to be Remade for Celebrations (San Diego Union Tribune: Dec. 23, 2010)

Jacobs to Zoo: I Wasn't Planning on Solving your Parking Problems (Voice of San Diego: Dec. 21, 2010)

Zoo Questions Parking Solution for Plaza de Panama (San Diego Union Tribune: Dec. 21, 2010)

Zoo: More Parking Needed, Yesterday (Voice of San Diego: Dec. 20, 2010)

In Balboa Park, a Plaza for People and Pomp (Voice of San Diego: Dec. 9, 2010)

Balboa's Good History Versus Its Bad (Voice of San Diego: Dec. 3, 2010)

Balboa Park at a Crossroads (Voice of San Diego: Dec. 1, 2010)

Expect the Unexpected Part 2: Irwin Jacobs on the Plaza de Panama Effort (San Diego Union Tribune: Nov. 15, 2010)

Traffic Always a Part of Balboa Park (KPBS: Sept. 10, 2010)

Plaza Plan for Balboa Park Unveiled (San Diego Union Tribune: Aug. 31, 2010)

Proposed Improvements to Balboa Park Unveiled (SanDiego6: Aug. 31, 2010)

Plan for Car-Free Plaza de Panama Unveiled (KPBS: Aug. 30, 2010)

$33M Restoration Planned at Balboa Park (10News: Aug. 30, 2010)

Mayor Reveals Car-Free Plaza de Panama Plans (FOX5: Aug. 30, 2010)

Jacobs Champions Balboa Park Effort (San Diego Union Tribune: Aug. 19, 2010)

Mayor Wants Cars out of Balboa Park Plaza (San Diego Union Tribune: Jan. 16, 2010)

Plaza Slideshow Test Page




Press Releases

Media Coverage

2012 Coverage

Hall: Would you pay to park at Balboa Park? (UT San Diego: October 24, 2012)

Balboa Park Construction Delayed to February (UT San Diego: October 19, 2012)

Plaza de Panama: Balboa Park renovation set to begin in October (The Daily Transcript: August 30, 2012)

Filner Flips, Backs Balboa Park Remodel (Voice of San Diego: August 22, 2012)

SOHO Sues City Over Balboa Park Plan (UT San Diego: August 13, 2012)

  • The Plaza de Panama Comittee issued a statement in response:

It’s disappointing that SOHO has chosen to waste taxpayer dollars by suing the City of San Diego in an attempt to subvert a two year democratic process.  The Plaza de Panama project was approved after extensive community outreach and input (with over 200 meetings), a unanimous planning commission recommendation, and a 6-1 city council vote. The environmental review for the project was the most extensive ever done in Balboa Park history and considered over 20 alternatives.  This painstaking and comprehensive effort balanced the interests of all San Diego citizens and Balboa Park users, and concluded that the approved project best prepares Balboa Park for the next 100 years while still honoring its past. It is now time for all of us to move forward with reclaiming the plazas from cars and returning them to the people.

Will Balboa Park's new look be better? (UT San Diego: July 15, 2012)

Idiotic? Let us count the ways (UT San Diego: July 11, 2012)

Letter to the Community: Todd Gloria explains his vote on Balboa Park changes (San Diego Gay & Lesbian News: July 10, 2012)

Plaza de Panama Plan Approved (UT San Diego: July 10, 2012)

Council Approves Plaza de Panama Plan (NBC San Diego: July 10, 2012)

City Council Approves Controversial Balboa Park plan (KUSI News: July 10, 2012)

Editorial - Plaza de Panama Approved at City Council - My Thoughts
(Scoop San Diego: July 9, 2012)

A new Balboa Park: What's gained and lost (UT San Diego: July 6, 2012)

Balboa Park: Time to act (UT San Diego: June 30, 2012)

Balboa Par k Could Be Even Greater if Jacobs Plan Implemented (Voice of San Diego Letter: June 26, 2012)

Jacobs Plan for Balboa Park 'Once-In-a-Lifetime Opportunity' (Voice of San Diego Letter: June 22, 2012)

Planning Comission Approves Plaza de Panama
(KPBS Radio News: June 8, 2012)

Planning Commission Approves Balboa Park Makeover (Fox 5: June 7, 2012)

Balboa Park Plan Approved by Planning Commission (UT San Diego: June 7, 2012)

Jacobs Deserves Thanks for Offering to Pay for Balboa Park Changes (Voice of San Diego: June 7, 2012)

Balboa Park Parking Solution 'Has to be Done,' Commission Chairman Says (UT San Diego: June 5, 2012)

Plaza de Panama Project Gets Mixed Votes from Council Advisory Committees (SD Uptown News: May 25, 2012)

Editorial - Plaza de Panama Project (Scoop San Diego: May 25, 2012)                     

Complications Persist for Plaza de Panama Project (KPBS: May 17, 2012)

Plaza de Panama Supporters Say Opponents Using Scare Tactics (KPBS: May 15, 2012)

Plaza de Panama Plan Endorsed by Balboa Park Committee (UT San Diego: May 3, 2012)

Spanish Language TV Coverage (NBD: April 2012)

Plaza de Panama Project Forges Ahead (UrbDeZine San Diego: March 30, 2012)

Spanish Language TV Coverage (Univision: March 2012)

SD Explained: Plaza de Panama (NBC San Diego: March 22, 2012)

Get on with Balboa Park Makeover (San Diego-Union Tribune: January 26, 2012)

Balboa Park Environmental Report Offers 21 Choices to Jacobs Plan (San Diego Union-Tribune: January 23, 2012)

Plaza de Panama: Cars or People? (La Mesa Courier: January 6, 2012)


2011 Coverage

2010 Coverage



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Interested in working at Balboa Park? Take a look at these open positions!  (**Edited 4/30)

Program Coordinator at Balboa Park Learning Institute (BPLI)
The Balboa Park Cultural Partnership is seeking a full-time Program Coordinator to support the Balboa Park Learning Institute initiatives. Please review the position description and qualifications in the attachment below, and follow the instructions to apply(MORE)

Visitor Experience – Assistant Manager at Mingei International Museum
Support management of day-to-day operations at the Museum’s front desk and in The Collector’s Gallery (Museum store), including coordination of all purchasing, providing excellent customer service and assistance with marketing, consignments and displays. (MORE)

Visitor Experience Associate, part-time, temporary at Mingei International Museum
The Visitor Experience Associate is the face of the Museum. The position is a liaison between the public and the Museum’s exhibitions, programming. The position can be located at the front desk or in The Collectors’ Gallery. The position provides exceptional customer service to enhance the visitor experience. The VE Associate must be knowledgeable about all aspects of Museum activities and able to communicate core messages in engaging ways to visitors and potential visitors. (MORE)

CAFÉ MANAGER/BARISTA PRINCIPALE at Mingei International Museum
The Barista Principale will manage daily operations at Café Mingei, located on the Plaza de Panama in beautiful Balboa Park. Duties include vendor relations, staff supervision and customer service, plus management of product quality and overall environment. This is a new, start-up operation and a fantastic opportunity for someone looking to make a difference in a mission-based nonprofit. (MORE)

Executive Assistant at the San Diego Museum of Man
This professional museum position requires a strong verbal and written communicator, an excellent problem solver, and someone who is well-organized, meticulous and tech-savvy. The Executive Assistant is critical in ensuring that the first impression of the museum is of the highest quality. We are seeking someone who is a team-oriented community builder and full of positive, can-do energy. (MORE)

Illusion Specialist at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center
Facilitates the interaction of museum visitors and school children with the ILLUSION exhibition and the scientific principles behind it. Experience and interest in magic and sleight of hand welcome. (MORE)

Director of Foundation, Corporate and Government Relations at TheNAT (San Diego Natural History Museum)
This position manages the cultivation, development, submission and stewardship of foundation, corporate and government proposals. In addition, this position is responsible for submitting timely and accurate reports for all existing grants, including progress and final reports. (MORE)

Security Officer(s) - Unarmed, temporary, part time, uniformed at TheNAT
 This is not an entry-level security officer position. Applicant should have two to five years solid security experience, preferably in a cultural institution setting. Related military service and/or previous law enforcement experience will be considered in part to satisfy this requirement. (MORE)

Plaza de Panama Project at 2012 Balboa Park December Nights

Thanks to everyone who stopped by our booth at Balboa Park December Nights and made this year’s festival so memorable! Just like last year, the project team hosted a booth in the heart of the Plaza de Panama, providing the ideal background for the team to connect with the San Diego community. The project team had a great time sharing information on the construction phases and timeline as well as getting into the holiday spirit with event attendees!

Sign Up for Text Message Updates

If you are interested in received the latest information about the Plaza de Panama project and Balboa Park, be sure to sign up for our new text message service. Text "BALBOA" to 56512 and your mobile number will be added to our list to receive text message updates about project status and parking and access during construction. Please note standard message and data rates apply.

Plaza de Panama Program Manager Makes San Diego Magazine’s “50 People to Watch” List

Every year, San Diego Magazine selects an eclectic mix of 50 San Diegans worth watching in the coming year. Gordon Kovtun, program manager for the Plaza de Panama project, has been named to San Diego Magazine’s “50 People to Watch” list for 2013. Gordon is the Principal of KCM Group, a full-service construction management firm based in San Diego.

Construction Schedule Updated
While construction on the Plaza de Panama Project was scheduled to begin in Fall 2012, the Plaza de Panama Committee has postponed to start of construction until Mid-February 2013 to allow for the resolution of litigation filed by project opponents.  A final hearing has been scheduled for February 1, 2013.  Despite the shorter construction period, the project is still scheduled to be completed in early October 2014, in time for the 2015 Centennial Celebration in Balboa Park. The four construction phases, estimated time frames and areas impacted are described in our construction fact sheet (pdf). We will continue to send out regular construction updates in our enewsletter.

Plaza de Panama Project Participates in Politifest 2012
On Saturday, September 29, the project team participated in Voice of San Diego’s Politifest 2012 at Liberty Station. The event consisted of a fun-filled day of political activism where attendees visited a variety of community booths from innovative local nonprofits, one of which was for the Plaza de Panama project. The project team had a wonderful time sharing new project information and construction updates with hundreds of event attendees. This year’s Politifest also included an exciting mayoral debate, Idea Tournament, kid zone, live music, and great eats!

City Council Approves Plaza de Panama Project Financing Plan
This week the city council voted to approve the financing plan for the Spreckles Organ Pavilion public parking garage. This was an important step required to move the Plaza de Panama project into construction phase. At the city council meeting, Councilmember Todd Gloria noted, “this is a necessary step to fulfill the obligation this council entered into when it approved the project, and it represents the city’s contribution to the overall project.” The Plaza de Panama Committee is grateful to the city council for its continued support, and to all of the city staff members who worked on putting the plan together in such a timely manner.   

Project Team to Participate in Upcoming Politifest
The Plaza de Panama Project team will be hosting a booth again at this year’s Politifest on September 29 from 10 am to 4 pm at Liberty Station. Put on by Voice of San Diego, this one-day festival focuses on civic issues and the future of San Diego, and is free to the public. Event attendees will be treated to a mayoral debate between the candidates, live music by The Blonde Brothers, Kid Zone complete with mini-voter booths, Stone Brewing Co. beer garden and dozens of community booths. Updated project fact sheets and information will be provided at our informational booth. We hope to see you there!

SOHO Announces Lawsuit Over City’s Project Approval

On August 13, Save Our Heritage Organisation (SOHO) filed a lawsuit against the City of San Diego's July 9 approval of the Plaza de Panama project. While disappointing, we are not surprised that SOHO has resorted to litigation once again in a final attempt to impede the project. The Plaza de Panama project was approved after a 2-year democratic process and has been studied more than any project in Balboa Park history. Despite SOHO's lawsuit filing, we are committed to moving forward with reclaiming the park from cars and returning it to the people. Mayor Jerry Sanders issued the following statement in response to the lawsuit filing:

"Once again, SOHO is threatening to harm Balboa Park if it didn’t get its way, by delaying long-needed improvements and holding our 2015 celebration hostage. All San Diegans should be extremely disappointed, as I am, by this narrow-minded special-interest group for trying to kill a project that will only further beautify this great park.”

Construction Update

The Plaza de Panama project team has made great progress with preparations to move the project into the construction phase. Construction will occur in four distinct phases to ensure that two-way vehicle traffic through the park is maintained at all times during construction and safe access to all institutions is provided. Phase one will involve utility relocation to accommodate the new Organ Pavilion parking structure. The four construction phases, estimated time frames and areas impacted are described in our construction fact sheet (pdf). Overall construction on the project is scheduled to conclude in advance of the 2015 Centennial Celebration in Balboa Park. We will continue to send out regular construction updates in our enewsletter.



City Council Approves Plaza de Panama Project

We are excited to share that the San Diego City Council voted yesterday 6-1 to approve the Plaza de Panama project! The vote came after several hours of presentations and testimony by members of the public. This decision is the culmination of nearly two years of public input and review by the City, and represents a significant milestone for Balboa Park. For more than 50 years, planning efforts in the park have sought to reclaim the plazas in the core of the park from cars, yet nothing has moved forward. The Plaza de Panama project will finally accomplish this goal and return more than 6 acres of plazas, promenades and parkland to park visitors. Following in the footsteps of the 1915 and 1935 Expos that created Balboa Park as we know it today, it is a fitting gift for the 2015 Centennial that will be enjoyed for generations to come.

Now that Council has voted to approve the project, the project team will begin preparations to move the project into construction phase. We anticipate that the project will be moving into construction toward the end of the year. Stay tuned for more updates!

Plaza de Panama Public Dialog/Agency Letters

Letters in Support

San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce (July 18, 2011)

Centro Cultural de la Raza (July 12, 2011)

San Diego History Center (May 2, 2011)

Hornblower Cruises and Events (April 21, 2011)

Courtyard by Marriott - Old Town (April 21, 2011)

San Diego Zoo (April 18, 2011)

San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau (April 15, 2011)

Hacienda Hotel Old Town (April 7, 2011)

The Grand Del Mar (April 6, 2011)

Manchester Grand Hyatt (April 5, 2011)

Del Mar Fairgrounds/Racetrack (April 4, 2011)

Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines (April 4, 2011)

Sheraton San Diego (April 4, 2011)

Trigild, Inc. (April 4, 2011)

San Diego Hilton Mission Valley (April 1, 2011)

Humphreys by the Bay (April 1, 2011)

Prime Time Shuttle (April 1, 2011)

PRA Destination Management (April 1, 2011)

San Diego Hotel-Motel Association (March 31, 2011)

Sea World San Diego (March 30, 2011)

Timken Museum of Art (March 11, 2011)

Mingei International Museum Board (Feb. 28, 2011)

Banker's Hill/Park West Community Association (Feb. 10, 2011)

Mingei International Museum (Jan. 29, 2011)

San Diego Museum of Man (Jan. 27, 2011)

2015 Steering Committee (Jan. 26, 2011)

San Diego Air & Space Museum (Jan. 23, 2011)

Reuben H. Fleet Science Center (Jan. 14, 2011)

Museum of Photographic Arts (Jan. 12, 2011)

San Diego Natural History Museum (Jan. 11, 2011)

Mathieu Gregoire (Jan. 10, 2011)

Balboa Park Central (Dec. 1, 2010)

Balboa Park Cultural Partnership (Sep 22, 2010)


Letters in Opposition

North Park Historical Society (May 2, 2011)

Eyton Shalom (April 28, 2011)

Rosemary Reed (April 14, 2011)

San Diego Archers (April 13, 2011)

Louise Russell (April 5, 2011)

Samantha Ollinger (April 5, 2011)

Elizabeth & John Weems (April 4, 2011)

Bjorn Palenius (April 4, 2011)

Mission Hills Heritage (Feb. 24, 2011)

The Committee of One Hundred (Feb. 4, 2011)

Hillcrest History Guild (Jan. 31, 2011)

Neighborhood Historic Preservation Coalition (Jan. 23, 2011)

La Playa Heritage (Jan. 17, 2011)

Citizens Coordinate for Century 3 (Jan. 21, 2011)

San Diego Council of Design Professionals (Oct. 21, 2010)


Public Dialogue/Agency Letters

Letter from State Historic Preservation Officer to City of San Diego (Feb. 11, 2011)


Dr. Irwin Jacobs to Save Our Heritage Organisation (Dec. 31, 2010)

Save Our Heritage Organisation to Mayor Jerry Sanders and Dr. Irwin Jacobs (Dec. 20, 2010)


Dr. Irwin Jacobs to San Diego Zoo (Dec. 21, 2010)

San Diego Zoo to Mayor Jerry Sanders and Dr. Irwin Jacobs (Dec. 16, 2010)



There are no community events scheduled for the remainder of 2012. 2013 events will be posted here in the near future.



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