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they’re projecting.” In a March 23 San Diego Union-

Tribune article, councilmember Lori Zaph was quoted as saying Bal- boa Park “Is and will be the Central Park of the West Coast.” Yet Crotty disagrees with those who suggest that Balboa Park has the potential to draw the same type of tourism to San Diego as Central Park does to New York.

“I’ve lived in a number of states

from Texas to Florida to New York, and I even lived up in San Francisco for a while, and until I got to San Diego I’d never heard of Balboa Park. The only thing I knew about San Diego when I moved here was that it was by the beach,” he said. “They’re relying on statistics to come up with this figure of $661 million in revenue for the city, but I could make just about any event generate millions of dollars for the city using creative sampling tech- niques.”

San Diego City Councilmem-

ber Todd Gloria, however, stands by projections that the centen- nial could be four times as large as Comic-Con, which has been esti- mated to have an economic impact of more than $190 million to the city in hotel, restaurant and transporta- tion revenue.

“These numbers are coming

from our tourism and marketing di- vision, who are local experts on this matter,” Gloria said. “While Comic- Con is a couple of days, our centen- nial celebration is going to be a year long. The 1915 Panama-California Exposition was an international event, and we’d like to have a simi- lar appeal. If we are able to secure the funds to market to that type of


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audience, we absolutely believe it could bring in three to four times what Comic-Con does.”

Not spending the money to

properly market the event, he said, would be a missed financial oppor- tunity for the city. “People out there would say that

this spending is frivolous in these economic times, but the missed op- portunity in terms of what the city could make in revenue would be phenomenal,” Gloria said. Crotty remains skeptical, point- ing to the city’s current $57-million budget deficit. “It’s a heck of a lot of money to spend,” he said. “The number being thrown around for revenue generation is incredibly high, al- most to the point where it’s unbe- lievable. It appears to me as being a major gamble for a very specu- lative opportunity to generate income.”u


MARCH FOR BABIES IN BALBOA PARK Non-profit organization

March for Dimes will hold its “March for Babies” event on April 30 in Balboa Park. This or- ganization works to improve the health of babies born premature- ly, and this event celebrates the success that it has had in helping children.

This year’s walk is in honor of Hazel Rose of Oceanside, who was born prematurely at 34 weeks weighing only 2 pounds, 11 ounc- es, and is now a healthy 19 month old. Registration for the event be- gins at 8 a.m., the pre-march pro- gram at 8:45 a.m. and the march itself at 9 a.m. For information, visit: march- or call 576-1211.u

San Diego Uptown News | Apr. 1–14, 2011 San Diego Uptown News or Gay San Diego

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