The Santa Monica Conservancy this Sunday intends to give The Rehabilitation Award to Community Corp of Santa Monica (CCSM) for rehabilitating a number of older multi-family buildings in the city.

Given CCSM’s history of destroying historical homes in the Pico Neighborhood, this is just shocking. Let’s look at recent history. Joe and Rosemary Kessler over time bought every home on High Place. It was lovingly referred to as Kesslerville by Pico Neighborhood residents. Almost all the homes on High Place were California Craftsman bungalow houses that are on the city’s Survey of Historic Resources, some over 90 years old. In Ocean Park when developers threatened to buy up and tear down Craftsman bungalows on Third Street south of Ocean Park Boulevard to build multi-family housing, City Hall stepped in. An historic district was created and these beautiful California Craftsman bungalows were preserved.

CCSM bought a Craftsman bungalow at 2303 Fifth St. in Ocean Park and preserved it as rental housing. That is not what CCSM and City Hall did in the Pico Neighborhood. In 2002 City Hall gave CCSM the money to buy Kesslerville; all the Craftsman bungalows on High Place and adjacent Virginia Avenue. CCSM evicted the tenants and demolished the eight to nine beautiful bungalow homes on the street to build high density rental housing. An organization that shows disrespect for the historical properties in the Pico Neighborhood does not deserve this award.

Steve Keats

Santa Monica

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