A boost in a state grant has pushed the renovation of Cayucos Veterans Hall to the brink of full funding, Supervisor Bruce Gibson told the Cayucos Advisory Board this week.
On Wednesday, September 7, he updated members on a recent windfall that appears to have taken fundraising efforts nearly over the top.
In an effort to raise funds, the county had applied for another state grant of $2.5 million, but said officials were told on Friday, Sept. 2 “we got nothing from the grant”.
Then on Monday, in a serendipitous twist of fate, the county learned that the National Natural Resources Agency had increased its allocation to the project to $4.3 million, adding $2.5 million to the original grant of 1, $9 million. The addition comes from the agency’s Cultural, Community and Natural Resources grant, said Gibson legislative aide Blake Fixler.
In June, Gibson said county officials hoped to convince the agency to increase the grant. But getting it was long, so they applied for a second state grant.
He said the expanded grant “puts us within $530,000 of the full budget for the project, including the additional $1 million that Senator (John) Laird added to the budget tracking invoices for the project. ‘State’ in July.
The full project was estimated at $9.5 million, Gibson said at the time, including research, studies, designs and other work already done and paid for by the county, plus $5.4 million for work. demolition and reconstruction. The latter figure was in line with offers received in June but which have been kept in limbo until the county can find the money to pay for the work.
Without the expanded grant and other funding since confirmed, there would have been a $4-5 million shortfall.
Additionally, Gibson added that “between this (larger) grant, community donations, my $50,000 community project funds which I’m excited to add, and an amount yet to be determined by the Cayucos Alliance (Cayucos Visitors Alliance), we’ll have enough to do the project.
He said efforts to launch the project will culminate in a board paper on October 4 approving the expanded grant, and then another vote in November on the bond sale (for this project and a few other projects, including including the sheriff’s dispatch center and a probation building).
“If all goes as planned with the council (votes),” he said, “we will be able to award the contract and start construction by the end of the year. We are incredibly grateful for this (larger grant). He added that “(Senator) Laird did an outstanding job on the Senate floor and behind the scenes” to secure the million dollars for the project.
Greg Bettencourt of Cayucos, who has spearheaded local fundraising efforts, also congratulated these donors.
“Bruce did a Herculean job,” Bettencourt said. “But it’s important (to recognize) the people who helped fundraise, the over $500,000 funds that we raised, which are critical to funding this final part of the project. The people of Cayucos have once again stepped up,” as they did by donating for the repair and upgrade of the Cayucos pier in 2015.
Jim Dantona, who chairs the Cayucos Advisory Council’s land use committee, said he’s worked with Laird on the future of the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant and knows Gibson “has done a great job in the behind the scenes” to raise funding for the vet room.
He told the supervisor that the expanded grant was the result of “the hard work you put in to leverage this. Thank you sir, that was an amazing lift and amazing news for the community.
Various board members said they plan to rally the troops to attend meetings of the oversight board to urge approval.
In June 2020, the state fire marshal red-marked the building, stating it was not safe for use as a community center, which for decades is the role it has played. in Cayucos.
Last July, Laird defined the million dollars he got from the state budget as needed for “much-needed renovations to a historic community center (the Cayucos Vets Hall), to maintain the operations of the facility for community use”.
Funding for the project includes: the newly expanded National Natural Resources Agency nearly $4.3 million grant from Prop. 68; $1 million from Laird from the state budgeting process; a $3.5 million internal loan that county supervisors approved in November that would be repaid through the bonds; a $300,000 grant from the State Coastal Conservancy; more than $500,000 donated by the community; Gibson’s $50,000 in community project funds and whatever the Cayucos Alliance puts in the pot.
This story was originally published September 10, 2022 11 a.m.