Balboa Park upgrades for centennial and beyond - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Balboa Park upgrades for centennial and beyond

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - The City of San Diego is planning a big celebration to mark the 100th anniversary of Balboa Park. Several parts of the park will be upgraded, and dozens of special events are already planned.

"I think we will be ready for it," City Council President Todd Gloria said.

The park is in Gloria's district. He and the mayor have taken a bigger stake in the event after the group previously in charge couldn't find major sponsors and was accused of misspending money. That group disbanded, and now the city is looking to make the celebration more practical.

"San Diegans like the park the way it is. On an average Tuesday, the park is still pretty spectacular, and 2015 should really be about showcasing that rather than bringing in a bunch of extra stuff that may detract from what the park is and why San Diegans love it so much," Gloria said.

The park's centennial will be a yearlong celebration that combines seasonal events, high-profile exhibits like "The Discovery of King Tut" that just opened. There will also be some major park improvements. One of those is the repair of the California Tower, which has been closed to the public for 80 years.

"All along we have been hoping to make that possible. It was open to the public previously. It has been closed for the last many decades, we'd like to open that up again. I've had the opportunity to go up in there and it's incredible," Gloria said.

The park will also be adding the largest wi-fi system on the West Coast, and upgrading the Cabrillo Bridge so it can withstand earthquakes, as well as lighting it at night.

"These are all new and refurbished attractions that San Diegans can come back to Balboa Park, enjoy, and probably most importantly they'll be here 100 years from now, so future San Diegans can enjoy it," Gloria said.

The aim is to have the park in tip top shape for its centennial, and well beyond.

"My hope is that in 2115 people will look back on us with the same amount of reverence saying we got it right. We did right by the city and right by Balboa Park," Gloria said.

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