Monday, August 13, 2012

A DUMP IN THE PARK



Monday, August 13, 2012

Now here's a time capsule that no one really wants to open. If you drive on the east side of Balboa Park between Pershing Drive and Florida Drive, you'll see acres of dirt that cover a generation's worth of garbage.

The Arizona Street canyon was a landfill from 1952-1974, right smack in the city's crown jewel. The trash is still there, and there's even a vent for methane gas.

How did that happen? As part of her continuing look at the changes and controversies of Balboa Park, our Kelly Bennett finds that it might have been a matter of simple economics. "Newspaper articles from the time highlighted saving money by hauling trash smaller distances," she writes.

There wasn't much controversy about the landfill back then. Now, there are plans to reclaim the land, but it's going to be expensive.

"It's not an easy site to do much on," Bennett writes. "In 1987, a worker lit a cigarette near a storm drain and was blown six feet away. His clothes ignited and 35 percent of his body was covered in burns."

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