The Cayucos Veterans Hall restoration project has begun and the sounds of construction next to the Cayucos Pier have attracted a lot of attention.
“So it’s lifting up about 2 1/2 feet total, moving over about 60 feet, and that’s so the next step after that the foundation will be completely demolished and rebuilt and then the building will go back on top of it,” said Paula McCambridge, San Luis Obispo County Public Works Public Information Officer.
Many community members pushed for this historic preservation project, although some believe it’s inefficient.
“I think they could’ve done it much quicker and less expensively by demolishing the building and starting all over instead of trying to salvage the old building,” said Ron Janney, Cayucos Memorial Lost at Sea Committee Chairman. “But there’s a lot of feeling here in town about keeping the old building.”
The building, constructed in 1875 by Captain James Cass, the founder of Cayucos, functioned as an important community and event center until it was condemned in 2016.
“The building is kind of the heart of Cayucos," said Darlene Kaberline, Cayucos resident.
The Veterans Hall is not only significant to residents but has been determined to be of historic significance at the local, state, and national levels.
“This is our treasure. It took many years and many meetings for people to get this process paid for and done. It makes you almost weepy to get to see after six years of having them condemn it to have it now in the process of being saved," Kaberline said.
The rehabilitation process includes raising the foundation by two and a half feet to address the rising sea level and constructing a new addition with an art gallery and history museum.
Kaberline says there is much to look forward to upon the project’s completion.
“All the time looking at this and wanting to get back in there for the parties,” she remarked.
The project is expected to be complete by the spring of 2024. Throughout the month of April, demolition of the existing building foundation and rough grading of the site will take place.
The overall construction will cost around $11 million. The county received several grants from state and local governments to help fund the project.