Restoration is nearly complete on the 97-year-old lily pond in Balboa Park, damaged in a recent late-night water fight, city officials said Monday.
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City Parks and Recreation Department staff expected the bulk of the repairs to the pond and the North/Plaza de Panama Fountain to be completed Wednesday. A mass water-gun fight held early Aug. 12 with hundreds of participants caused the damage.
The nonprofit organization Friends of Balboa Park raised $13,000 to help the city cover the more than $19,000 in repair costs. Organization officials expressed confidence they could raise the rest, according to Mayor Jerry Sanders. A private plant company, Progressive Grower, Inc. donated $1,000.
"I want to thank our park maintenance crews, and the Friends of Balboa Park for working to restore the lily pond and fountain," Sanders said. "The inexcusable vandalism that took place there showed an utter disregard for a community treasure, but our Parks Department, local nonprofit organizations, and individual donors, are showing what San Diego is really made of."
Crews have cleared damaged plant material, mud, dirt and other debris and made temporary repairs to the pond's plumbing system. The pond was also refilled and the water was treated to protect the fish and turtles, according to Parks and Recreation Director Stacey LoMedico.
The city performed regular maintenance, such as tile replacement and repair, which was not included in the cost estimate.
Replanting along the pond's perimeter and around the fountain was expected to be completed Wednesday, as were repairing and refilling the fountain.
"Staff has worked hard since the vandalism was first detected," LoMedico said. "We have been blessed to have the Friends of Balboa Park step up and accept the monetary donations from the many individuals who wanted to support the efforts to make the lily pond and the North/Plaza de Panama Fountain beautiful again."
The city also had some longer-term repairs planned that included repairs to the fountain's ornamental concrete caps and repairing or replacing seven of 26 submerged planters in the pond, the statement said.
Permanent plumbing repair to a draining pipe in the pond will be made once the lilies go dormant, likely in late fall or early winter, LoMedico said.
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