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Mayor Faulconer’s Plan to Preserve and Enhance Regional Parks Headed to November Ballot

Mission Bay Park, Balboa Park and Other Regional Parks Would Receive Hundreds of Millions of Dollars in New Investment If Voters Approve Ballot Initiative

Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2016 - NEWS RELEASE

San Diego – In a move that will enhance and preserve San Diego’s regional parks for generations to come, Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer today won unanimous final approval from the City Council approval to place an initiative on the November ballot that would lead to a grand restoration of the city’s major parks by providing hundreds of millions of more dollars for Mission Bay Park, Balboa Park and other regional parks. The City Council’s approval of the ballot language marks the last step in placing the plan before voters.
 
“We have inherited so much from previous generations with the dreams and determination to leave our city better than they found it. This November voters will have an opportunity to make our generation’s investment in the future of San Diego’s parks, beaches and bays,” Mayor Faulconer said. “This measure ensures future city leaders will keep up with necessary park improvements by making available hundreds of millions of dollars for San Diego parks without raising taxes. From new playgrounds in Mission Bay Park to repairing Balboa Park’s historic structures to investments in regional parks throughout the city, every San Diegan stands to benefit.”
 
Mayor Faulconer will write the argument in favor of the ballot measure that will appear in election materials.
 
The measure would extend 2008’s Proposition C – co-authored by then-Councilmember Faulconer – to direct a portion of Mission Bay lease revenue toward capital investment in Mission Bay Park and regional parks for an additional 30 years. This will result in continued annual revenue for Mission Bay Park and regional parks, including funds that can be used to revitalize historic buildings and structures in Balboa Park. The measure also expedites high-priority infrastructure projects for Mission Bay Park, such as lighting, bicycle trails, public restrooms and playgrounds.
 
“I am delighted to support this measure which, if approved by the voters, will not only improve Mission Bay Park, but also ensure a funding source for long-overdue maintenance and repairs to treasured historic buildings in Balboa Park,” City Councilmember Todd Gloria said. “This measure provides much needed revenue to address infrastructure and I am grateful to the Mayor for bringing this item forward.”
 
The ballot measure would amend Charter Section 55.2, which was approved by nearly 67 percent of voters as Proposition C in 2008. Proposition C ensured money generated in Mission Bay Park was available for park improvements. Mission Bay Park generates millions of dollars for the City through lease revenue from hotels and other businesses located on the bay. This money was originally used to pay for Mission Bay Park, but over time it was redirected into the General Fund for other purposes.
 
Proposition C changed this practice by requiring the City to divide excess Mission Bay lease revenue (anything above $20 million) for capital investment in Mission Bay Park (75%) and regional parks (25%) through 2039.
 
The 2016 ballot measure will ensure funding from Proposition C continues to be available for Mission Bay Park and regional parks across San Diego for generations to come. It makes several changes to preserve and prioritize improvements in Mission Bay Park and make new funding available for Balboa Park and other regional parks, including:
 
Extending the City Charter amendment for an additional 30 years to 2069, making hundreds of millions of future dollars available for Mission Bay Park and regional parks. Without voters approving an extension, the City Charter amendment is scheduled to sunset.
 
Amending Charter Section 55.2 to implement cash management best practices to improve efficiencies and expedite the completion of high-priority infrastructure projects for Mission Bay Park and regional parks.
 
Increasing the share that Balboa Park and regional parks receive in lease revenue from 25% to 35%. This is projected to bring in at least $3.5 million annually for improvements in regional parks, such as Balboa Park. This enlarged funding stream will give the City Council the option to leverage the annual revenue into tens of millions of dollars for projects, such as maintaining Balboa Park’s historic buildings.
 
San Diego regional parks that would benefit from this measure include:
 
Balboa Park
Chicano Park
Chollas Lake
Coastal Parks and Beaches
Mission Trails Regional Park
Open Space Parks
Otay River Valley Park
Presidio Park
San Diego River
Torrey Pines City Park
 
With the City Council’s approval today, the initiative will appear on the Nov. 8 ballot. It needs a simple majority of voters for approval.
 
CONTACT: Craig Gustafson at (619) 453-9880 or [email protected]