County Public Works is holding a public meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 28 at the Cayucos School Auditorium to discuss the current status of the project to repair and reopen the Cayucos Vet’s Hall, which has been closed since May 2016.
County Special Projects Manager, Jeff Lee said “With the new year there are a couple of exciting developments at the Cayucos Veteran’s Memorial Hall building.”
Lee recapped the events of the project so far:
• The building is a State-owned property, operated (leased) by the County and managed by the local Lion’s Club;
• The building was closed to the public on May 4, 2016 due to unsafe conditions. The kitchen and front restroom areas were allowed access during events at the adjacent tent event center;
• In December 2016, an “Architectural Resource Evaluation Report” was issued that indicated that the James Cass & Company Warehouse, aka Cayucos Veteran’s Memorial Hall, met the criteria for listing in the California Register of Historical Resources;
• To ensure that facility rehabilitation meets the required Department of Interior Standards, as well as the California Historic Building Code, a Historic Working Group Committee and a Cayucos Vet’s Hall Restoration Steering Committee have been established; and,
• The Cayucos Citizens Advisory Council is updated monthly on the progress.
When the building was closed to the public, Lee said they immediately got requests to reopen a portion of the building so the Cayucos Art Association could reopen its gallery, located in the northwest corner of the structure.
“We are happy to announce,” Lee said, “that after additional bracing and securing of the building took place in November 2017, the Art Association space and the conference room re-opened in December 2017 and are available for use.” Rehabilitating the main part of the Vet’s Hall will take quite a bit longer and the new Vet’s Hall will be different than the old one.
“After receiving feedback from the community,” Lee said, “County staff met with State Parks and California Coastal Commission staff and developed a preliminary floor plan that maintains the original character of the Cass Warehouse.
“This plan is getting positive feedback from the regulatory agencies and Public Works Environmental staff is working with State Parks staff to get sign-off from the State Historic Preservation Office.” But money could be a huge sticking point. “However,” Lee added, “the project does not currently have funding beyond this initial design phase.”
Lee said the County staff is looking for possible grant programs that could offset the cost, expected to be several million dollars.
“Additionally,” Lee said, “a $4 billion bond measure entitled the ‘California Parks, Environment, and Water Bond’ will be on the June 5, 2018 ballot and may provide construction funding since the structure is owned by State Parks.”
Lee said the changes to the interior are “based on input received from the community during the outreach meeting in August 2017 and discussions with the regulatory agencies. The proposed layout does reconfigure the interior to remove the existing stage [possibly replace it with a portable stage] to allow for direct access onto the back patio through a series of warehouse-style doors. Additionally, the conference room/storage area and art gallery are proposed to be re-configured to better utilize the interior flow.
“This layout is in keeping with the historical façade [image shown on Page 17 of the Architectural Resource Evaluation report].” That report is posted on a special website the County put up to track progress of the project, see: www.slocounty.ca.gov/Departments/Public-Works/Current-Projects/Cayucos-Vets-Hall-Restoration.
Under the current schedule, the project won’t be completed and the Vet’s Hall reopened until sometime in 2020.
This photo is a historic shot of the Cayucos Vets Hall from its days as a warehouse.
By Neil Farrell