OCEAN PARK — The Santa Monica Conservancy is hoping to raise $1.6 million to create a new, professionally-staffed Preservation Resource Center to be located in a rehabilitated shotgun house.
The fundraising campaign will also help expand programming, including a local history curriculum, according to a press release issued by the nonprofit Tuesday.
The conservancy so far has raised more than $860,000 from the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, the National Trust of Historic Preservation, the Friends of Heritage Preservation, City Hall, Morley Builders, the Minardos Group and other businesses and individuals.
“We have accomplished a great deal in 10 years as an all-volunteer organization,” said Carol Lemlein, president of the conservancy. “The time has come to hire professional staff and secure a site easily accessible to those who want to learn more about historic preservation.”
After a successful bid to lease the landmark 1890s shotgun house owned by City Hall, the conservancy agreed to rehabilitate the house and relocate it to city-owned property across from the Ocean Park Library at Second Street and Norman Place, a neighborhood with other landmark buildings reflecting the history of Santa Monica.
“By establishing our Preservation Resource Center in this historic house, we will provide an instructive model of the adaptive reuse of a structure that many might have thought had long outlived its usefulness,” Lemlein added.
The local history curriculum, “Building a Neighborhood,” is the brainchild of Santa Monica Landmarks Commissioner and conservancy board member Nina Fresco.
Geared to third-grade students and fulfilling California standards for social studies and the visual arts, the curriculum gives students an understanding of how the story of a community and its residents is reflected in the changing materials, styles, and uses of its buildings. The lessons are interactive, using kits that provide students the opportunity to build models of actual homes in the city’s Third Street Neighborhood Historic District as they study the evolution of the neighborhood.
Leading the Campaign Steering Committee is chair Tom Neary, vice president and director of business development at Morley Builders, headquartered in Santa Monica. Huell Howser, host of the TV show “California’s Gold,” is serving as the honorary chair.
For more information on the campaign and the conservancy, visit http://www.smconservancy.org or call (310) 496-3146.
Founded in 2002, the nonprofit Santa Monica Conservancy works to promote public understanding and appreciation of the cultural, social, economic and environmental benefits of historic preservation.