Residents oppose moving large scale events like Earth Day to Balboa Park's West Mesa

Groups say doing so will impact quality of life for residents and park goers.

The political climate over the annual Earth Day Fair is more heated than ever before.

Now residents of Park West and Bankers Hill are criticizing the City for not granting permits to Earth Day Fair organizers.

Instead of holding the event on Balboa Park's Central Mesa, the City is asking organizers to cram 60,000 attendees on to the narrow strip of grass on the west edge of the park along Sixth Avenue.

And it's not just Earth Day. The City hopes to entice other event organizers to do the same in order to appease park businesses and vendors that will have to endure years of construction on the controversial Plaza de Panama project.

Community groups in Bankers Hill and Park West, however, don't like that plan. They claim that moving events would bring more traffic, less parking, and more noise to their community.

Today, former Uptown Planners chair Leo Wilson sent a letter requesting that the Mayor and city staff include them on any plans to relocate large events to Balboa Park's West Mesa.

"On January 14th, the Charter Committee of the San Diego Metro Community Development Corporation, which represents business, property owners, and residents in Bankers Hill/Park West and other Uptown communities, voted 18-0 to oppose moving Earth Fair to the West Mesa of Balboa Park along Sixth Avenue," reads Wilson's email to residents.

Three days later, a subcommittee on the Balboa Park Committee also voted against any plan to move “large/over-capacity events” to their neck of the woods.

The committee, reads the email, feels doing so will deplete already scarce parking, bring "excessive noise to neighborhoods, limit public use of the park, and cause the deterioration of "the grass and vegetation on the West Mesa, which is already damaged and in poor condition because of the large amount of park users who utilize the West Mesa for recreational purposes."

More community groups in opposition to the plan may be jumping on board as well.

Wilson says the the Bankers Hill/Park West Community Association will be discussing the item at an upcoming meeting.

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I think the West Mesa would work, especially if they set things up from Upas St south to the very end of the park. The Gay Day parade holds their after party there every year and the turnout for that is massive and it goes on for the entire weekend with no permanent damage to the park or neighborhood. I suspect Earth Day celebs would be sure to leave no litter or footprints behind. It would be better than no Earth Day at all.

Balboa Park has become home to museums and a performing arts theater that occupy City Parkland on a permanent lease basis. The Zoo is the "big gorilla" of the lessees. Any large event negatively impacts these lessees UNLESS they are holding it themselves. Generally those are pay for admission activities. How do you discourage people from attending events or overstaying their welcome? Charge for parking, and benefit those with control. The Jacobs Plan increases traffic and brings paid parking and reserved valet parking into Balboa Park. Do you think neighborhoods will be impacted as paid parking expands? The Jacobs Plan encourages peoUple to drive through the Park from 6th. Do you think that is good, especially when public transportation access could be increased along Park Boulevard? Pushing December Nights, Earth Fair, and other large events will benefit the lessees, not necessarily the Public - or the neighborhoods. Don't you think it is time to review the Park's Master Plan and how it affects the neighborhoods?

The PRIDE is mainly about the Parade, less the beer garden with tables afterward, with is about 1/3 the size of Earth Day. Holding Earth Day on the west side would be a new event. You cannot do what we do in the Central Mesa on the west side. The issues with load-in for exhibitors and volunteers are formidable. Also, the neighbors were not consulted and now opposed it. Finally, there is no valid reason to move. We are no threat to construction! There is no construction scheduled on Sundays! They are simply throwing events out of the heart of the park because they don't want them there and determined to now work with anyone to have them there - except for the Centennial Corporation and the "museums and restaurants." This is a decision pushing all public special events out for the NEXT THREE YEARS - and with no public hearing. Finally, no one needs permits to assemble in a public park. What they are then doing is squashing them financially.

I forgot to add - they are planning to move December Nights off to the west while the heart of the park is reserved for the special few.

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