Restoration of the historic cottages at Crystal Cove State Park has received a big boost with a $2.8-million contribution expected from the California Coastal Commission, money that originally was set aside for a youth hostel.
The funds represent about a quarter of what the state Department of Parks and Recreation says it will need to restore the historic district, considered the last intact example of a1920s Southern California beach colony.
"It's a substantial commitment, and it lends credibility to the state's assertion that it intends to fund the restoration of this historic district," said Susan Jordan of the California Coastal Protection Network, which works on conservation and protection projects. "We have waited 22 years, and I feel that everything is now pointed in the right direction." The Coastal Commission money started as a $1.4-million fee developers of what is now the St.Regis Hotel in Dana Point were required to pay in the late 1980s so low-cost, overnight accommodations could be built.
The money was going to be used to build a youth hostel across Pacific Coast Highway.
The money, which was deposited in an interest-bearing account, has doubled, said Sarah Christie, legislative coordinator of the Coastal Commission.
Instead of the hostel, the parks department plans to convert "a few cottages into low-cost, family-style or dorm-style living accommodations," said Roy Stearns, spokesman for the department.
The funds could be released within a few weeks, said Christie, after the expected approval by the commission. The money,the largest single amount set aside for the district's restoration, comes after the parks department rejected a proposal by Assemblyman John Campbell (R-Irvine) to increase rents at the nearby El Morro Village, extend tenants' leases for another 10 years and use that money to pay for the restoration.
The 300 tenants at El Morro, part of Crystal Cove State Park, are expected to be evicted in 2004. The Crystal Cove tenants were evicted in July after two decades of battling with the state.
[Clips from original newspaper articles appear here for educational purposes and purposes of comment, rather than commercial purposes. They are reprinted under the fair use doctrine of international copyright law. Copyright Los Angeles Times]
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