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Tuesday, Sep 27, 2022
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Park Centennial Planning Group Votes to Disband

Balboa Park Celebration Inc., the nonprofit organization formed to put on a year-long series of events to commemorate the 1915 Panama California Exposition, voted to disband and cede its authority to the city of San Diego.

Formed in 2011, the group has been reeling recently in the face of allegations that it was refusing to divulge detailed financial reports on its operations, and the resignation last month of its third CEO.

Ben and Nikki Clay, the organization’s co-chairs, said in a statement that the decision was “the result of long and careful consideration of the obligations spelled out in the BPCI memorandum of understanding with the city of San Diego.”

The statement said the city is ready to take back this authority and that all involved believe doing so is in the best interests of the Centennial Celebration and Balboa Park.

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Efforts to obtain further comment from the Clays were not successful.

In a recent interview before the decision to disband, Ben Clay said the group was unable to secure anticipated sponsorships from corporate partners and wealthy donors to underwrite the bulk of its budget.

Originally, the group was trying to raise about $22 million for a varied series of celebrations. But without securing sponsors, the group whittled the budget down to about $2 million.

— Mike Allen

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