Wednesday, June 12, 2013
MAJORITY LEADER ATKINS SPEARHEADS PRESERVATION OF HISTORIC SAN DIEGO SITE
(Sacramento) Assembly Majority Leader Toni Atkins announced today that she has successfully persuaded the Legislature’s Joint Budget Committee to transfer the former CalTrans headquarters near Old Town State Park in San Diego to the state parks system. This move will ensure the preservation of historic structures and artifacts known to be below the building’s foundation and that the site will remain in the public’s hands.
“This is a three-way win for the people of California and San Diego,” says Atkins. “This action preserves a site rich with our heritage and removes an eyesore from the historic center of our city, all without cost to taxpayers.”
CalTrans abandoned the 2.4 acre site in 2006, when it moved to a new headquarters building. The building sits on the location of the first permanent European settlement in California and of a Kumeyaay Native American village dating back to AD 500. The Committee’s action ensures that it will remain in the hands of the people and will not be sold for private development.
The decision by the Joint Budget Committee opens the door for creating an historic park that is part of or adjacent to Old Town State Park. Local community open space and preservation activists envision this piece of land as a new entry way to Old Town State Park that would tie together the San Diego River, the Kumeyaay village, and the early California settlement in an integrated interpretive display.
“I am grateful to the leaders of the State Assembly for prioritizing this transaction within the state budget process and for effectively communicating its importance to the entire legislature,” says Atkins.
The Joint Budget Committee’s recommendation will be reviewed by the entire legislature as part of the state budget and will then be sent to Governor Brown.