Local groups donate to save San Diego's fire pits - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Local groups donate to save San Diego's fire pits

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The effort to find private funding to maintain the 186 fire pits at city beaches and Mission Bay has succeeded for at least the next fiscal year, city officials said Wednesday.

Mayor Jerry Sanders cut maintenance from next year's budget, something he has done several times in recent years, but private donations have always kept the popular concrete rings or squares in operation.

Officials officially announced Thursday that private donations will keep the pits along the shoreline. It's estimated that maintenance will cost at least $120,000 in the next fiscal year, which begins July 1.

Sanders and Councilman Kevin Faulconer -- who has been trying to save the rings -- made the announcement along with the San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Hotel-Motel Association, the San Diego Foundation and La Jolla Foundation.

Some of the same groups contributed to saving the rings when they were about to be axed last year. An anonymous donor saved them three years ago.

Tourism industry officials feared the loss of the fire rings would take away one of San Diego's best selling points, the chance for normally landlocked visitors to experience a beach bonfire.

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