The bulk of the repairs to Balboa Park’s defaced lily pond should be finished by Wednesday, Mayor Jerry Sanders said Monday.
The historic and beloved pond was vandalized last weekend in a water gun fight organized on social media, and attended by up to 2,000 people.
The pond and the area around it, including the Plaza de Panama fountain, sustained more than $19,000 in damage, according to the mayor’s office's most recent tally.
Through a concerted community effort, the non-profit group Friends of Balboa Park raised $13,000 in donations. The campaign to raise repair money began the day following the water gun fight, as news spread that the nearly 100-year-old pond would need repairs.
The money has covered most of the repairs already made to the vandalized area, but more is still needed -- preferably from whomever police find to be responsible for the damage, said Mayoral Spokesman Darren Pudgil.
"We think it will cover most of the costs, but we may still go after the ones who did this and require them to cover some of these costs as well," he said.
So far, the Park and Recreation staff have cleared all damaged plants, dirt, mud and debris. Staff have also temporarily repaired the pond’s plumbing system and refilled the pond with water. The water was treated to protect the fish and turtles inside.
By Wednesday, the staff plans to add more seasonal plants around the perimeter of the pond and the Plaza de Panama fountain.
While the pond was empty, staff also had the opportunity to spruce up some of the ponds tiles and other necessary upkeep tasks.
In the long term, some of the pipes will have to be further repaired, when the lilies go dormant in the fall or early winter, the mayor’s office said.
“Staff has worked hard since the vandalism was first detected,” said Park and Recreation Director Stacey LoMedico in a statement. “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 North/Plaza de Panama Fountain beautiful again.”
Last week, one of the organizers of the event came forward on a local television station. He said he had no idea so many people would attend, and only meant for it to be a sober alternative to the San Diego night life scene.
The San Diego Police Department is still investigating the incident.