Water fight at Balboa Park lily pond caused $19,000 worth of damage

Repairs taking place while lilies are dormant

SAN DIEGO - More repairs to the lily pond at Balboa Park began Tuesday, five months after it was heavily damaged when hundreds of people turned out for a late-night water fight promoted via social media.

According to City Council President Todd Gloria, the 97-year-old lily pond has been drained, its planter boxes are being rebuilt and work crews are conducting more cleaning. At least seven of 26 of the submerged planter boxes needed to be fixed or replaced.

Fish that inhabit the pond have been removed, and will be returned when the work is finished. The work is taking place now because the lilies are dormant.

Hundreds of people gathered late on a Saturday night last August to take part in the raucous event at the rectangular reflecting pool, which was constructed for the 1915-17 Panama-California Exposition. Police said the crowd tore up foliage and broke some plumbing equipment, causing flooding problems and around $19,000 damage.

A similar but non-destructive event took place in the park the previous summer.

The nonprofit Friends of Balboa Park has already funded temporary repairs to plumbing and replaced plants around the perimeter of the pool.

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