The Botanical Building in Balboa Park is one of the city’s most photographed icons.
But look closely and you’ll see it’s falling apart. Some of the wood framing on its domed roof is popping off and splitting. The water feature on the west side of the building’s been out of commission for years. Rust lurks behind elaborate plant displays.
In late 2013, the Balboa Park Conservancy announced plans to restore and upgrade the facility. The effort was billed as the fledgling group’s foundational project – something that would prove its mettle as the park’s chief fundraiser.
The Conservancy envisioned a nearly $3 million, donor-backed restoration would be finished before the 2015 Centennial Celebration. That didn’t happen. Now, more than two years in, the group reports it’s raised just $457,000. The rust and cracks continue to fester – and the group’s still working to build its track record.