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SLO County supervisors approve purchase of Dana Adobe land

Date: 06/12/2008

On June 3, the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the allocation of $1.7 million to buy 100 acres of land near the Dana Adobe in Nipomo.

Home on the range:
The Dana Adobe is one of many historic adobe sites in California, though it's one of the only adobes with its original viewshed still intact. The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved funds on June 3 to purchase 100 acres of land, including the Dana Adobe site and viewshed, in order to permanently preserve it and turn it into a "living history" park.
The funds will be added to the $1 million previously set aside by the county to purchase the land and preserve it as open space for a planned "living history" park to be run by the Dana Adobe Nipomo Amigos (DANA), the nonprofit volunteer organization that is restoring and preserving the adobe.

The funds came just in time, according to DANA president Herb Kandel, who said that the loan taken out by the organization two years ago to fund the preservation of the site recently expired.

"Had we not [received funds from the county], the land probably would have been in jeopardy of being developed," Kandel said. "Now it's permanently protected."

The approximately $2.7 million total will come from the county's public facilities fees, also known as Quimby funds, and go toward turning the site into what DANA calls a living history park.

DANA members and other volunteers will historically re-enact what life would have been like at the adobe when it was first built by Nipomo's founder, Capt. William G. Dana, in 1851.

Also, Kandel said that DANA plans to work with the San Luis Obispo County Land Conservancy, which recently acquired a $450,000 grant, to restore the property's two Nipomo Creek tributaries.

"We're using the money to bring in 10,000 native riparian trees and plants that will help reduce erosion and bring wildlife back into the Pacific Flyway," Kandel said.

The Pacific Flyway is a major travel route for migratory birds that includes wetlands and other bodies of water running up and down the west coast of North America.

"This is a beleaguered creek system. There's been a lot of urban trash and dumping in the area," Kandel said. "But the grant gives us the opportunity to make the creek a model of restoration for other properties."

Along with restoring the adobe and the creek, DANA will use the funds to create nature trails for hiking and horseback riding, and install volunteer demonstrations of historic agriculture.

Originally, the site was part of a plan for the Patterson Academy, a privately run school on South Thompson Road. The land then switched ownership and was going to be turned into a housing development.

But with the help of a loan from three local investors, Kandel said, DANA was able to "snatch the property from the jaws of development."

However, if the organization couldn't repay the loan at the end of two years, the land would go back into the pockets of the investor. The county's monetary approval bailed DANA out in the nick of time, permanently preserving the site and its original viewshed, Kandel said.

"We are so excited that the acquisition is moving forward the vision of the living history park," he said.

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