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From the Botanical Building to Palisades Plaza: Upgrades completed, coming to Balboa Park

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Posted at 11:31 AM, Nov 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-18 14:31:42-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — It’s been in the works for more than 30 years and now the section of Balboa Park known as the Palisades Plaza is getting its upgrade.

Roger Showley, the President of the Committee of One Hundred, who joined forces with the city to renovate this area, said Thursday getting here wasn’t an easy task.

"A giant parking lot was built in this space, this is what many of us called the ugly stepsister of Balboa Park," joked Showley.

But, Showley said through blood, sweat, tears, and donations they were able to begin fixing it up. They repainted the Automotive Museum and created artistic ceramic tiles for the entrance.

Work has also been done to the Municipal Gym, where a bronze panel is being made that will go over the entrance. What used to be a spot to park has now turned into a place where people gather.

City leaders took a tour on Thursday to see all the recent changes to Balboa Park.

“For many of you that have been here on the weekends. You’ve seen a beehive of activities of people, of families, people enjoying this space. Of course, it’s our hope that those visitors will start migrating into the Air and Space Museum, the Automotive Museum, and the soon to be open Comic-Con Museum," said San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria.

Other upgrades planned for Balboa Park include repaving of Balboa Drive, landscaping projects at the Natural History Museum, and a $4 million rehabilitation of the historic Bud Kearns Pool in Morley Field that is currently underway.

The Comic-Con Museum also opens next week, just in time for the scaled-back version of this year’s Comic-Con.

Nearby attractions are also a part of the overall upgrades, including construction underway at the San Diego Zoo’s former Children’s Zoo, and the recently reopened Heikoff Giant Dome Theater at the Fleet Science Center.

Other recent upgrades and plans underway include:

  • The Botanical Building will undergo a complete rebuild, with construction beginning in January, to restore the iconic structure to its original 1915 grandeur
  • The Timken Museum is currently under construction with building improvements that will enhance the visitor experience
  • Nine new international cottages, consisting of four duplexes and one stand-alone building, were completed in August 2021 to provide homes for the nations of Chamorros, India, Peru, Panama, Philippines, Mexico, India, and Palestine
  • Viewing platform completed last spring at the 106-year-old Moreton Bay Fig Tree
  • Casa del Prado will be rehabilitated, including restoration of its beloved ornamentation and other building improvements