For over 80 years the House of Pacific Relations (HPR) in Balboa Park has been a local spot with a global view. That wordly view is now expanding.
"The number of cottages in Balboa Park is increasing by nine, which is nearly 50% of the existing cottages," boasts George Novinger, Chairman of the International Cottage Committee.
There are currently 19 cottages, representing 34 nations. The San Diego City Council approved the building of nine new cottages. The nations on the list for new cottages are Mexico, Colombia, India, Lebanon, Palestine, Panama, Peru, the Philippines and Turkey.
Novinger said the nine new cottages, "Will be doing things to share and spread their nations arts, cuisine and culture."
The new member cottages will join in the tradition of Sunday lawn programs featuring music, dancing, food and drink from each nation.
"It's an opportunity to come in Sunday's and basically tour the world culturally," Melvin Weekley, Chairman of the House of Pacific Relations, told NBC 7.
The expansion is welcome by other nations in the HPR.
“I think it’s great that we’re expanding our international family,” said Suzy Hegstrom, a member of the House of Sweden. “We have a number of organizations that are promoting their country’s language, traditions, history, culture, music, folk dancing. Some of these organizations have been waiting for a cottage.”
“The more the merrier,” Hegstrom added. “We’re a mini United Nations, promoting understanding, peace and harmony. We can all appreciate each other’s cultures and traditions and, in doing so, we learn we have more in common.”
The new cottages will be built on existing open spaces, so as to not disturb the area's natural beauty.
Novinger said construction plans were approved by key stakeholders, "So that everybody would be happy with where the cottages are and be approximate size to the rest of the cottages around the area."
Like the existing cottages, all new cottages will be filled with authentic decorations from the home nations.
Eugenie King, President of the House of Pacific Relations said "There is a demand for this kind of fun, free, culturally involvement, with an organization that has no other goal than to promote peace, tolerance and goodwill among all people."
A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for Saturday; construction is set to begin after next month's 2016 December Nights holiday celebration.
The goal is to have the new nine International Cottages ready to open by the 2017 December Nights celebration in Balboa Park.