Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Joint Budget Committee approves land transfer for San Diego Old Town State Historic Park

Swap would preserve Native American and early settler artifacts at San Diego Old Town historical park

SACRAMENTO – State Senator Marty Block (SD-39) announced today that the Joint Budget Conference Committee approved transfer of a former, now vacant, Caltrans office site located in San Diego’s Old Town State Historic Park to the state parks system. Transferring the 2.4 acres will result in improvements and cultural preservation at the park and save California $80,000 a year it now spends in annual upkeep for the vacated building.

            Block proclaimed it a “win-win” for both the park and Caltrans. “The Department of Transportation will save hefty maintenance costs that total $500,000 to date, and the park and people of California gain an opportunity to enhance and preserve a historic and cultural treasure,” Block said.

            In a recent letter to Senate Budget Committee Chair Mark Leno (SD-11), Block argued for the land transfer because of its historic value to the area and state. The historic park is the site of California’s first permanent European settlement and a Native American village dating to A.D. 500.

            Located on the southwest corner of Juan and Taylor Streets, adjacent to the Old Town park, the Caltrans buildings sit atop historic structures and cultural resources that could be unearthed and made available to the public.

            “Retaining the site in public ownership has statewide significance because of its historic, archaeological and interpretive significance,” Block said. He credited his predecessor, former State Senator Christine Kehoe and other local officials and residents who have worked for years to realize the site transfer.

            “The joint budget action was a major step forward in securing the property and preserving this significant site in California’s history.”

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