The Land Conservancy rallied the support of thousands of people on Sunday during its jazz benefit concert at Dinosaur Caves Park that raised over $80,000 towards the proposed Pismo Preserve. The event kicked-off with a $25,000 community challenge match from Pismo Beach local, Gary Grossman, President of Coastal Community Builders.
Challenge match donor, Gary Grossman, inspired the crowd with his generosity and leadership. “Over the past few months, I have witnessed our San Luis Obispo County elected officials take the lead on ensuring that this spectacular open space remains preserved for our citizens, our visitors and our future generations. In particular, I am thankful to our County Supervisors for their leadership and to the Pismo Beach City Council for committing their most generous support. I also gratefully acknowledge the vision of the Land Conservancy, the business community and our great residents for supporting this project. In the years to come, I personally look forward to exploring the trails and recreational opportunities the Pismo Preserve will provide,” remarked Grossman.
One of the unique ways the event coordinators raised funds was to offer a limited number of seats for an instant trip to the ridge top of Pismo Preserve. Ten enthusiastic supporters each donated $500 on the spot for the opportunity to ride to the top of Pismo Preserve. Once at the ridge top, the donors called in to the stage via mobile phone to report to the crowd what they were seeing.
“We can see all the people stuck in traffic on the highway who aren’t as lucky as us to live here; We can see the Guadalupe Dunes and Avila Beach headlands; We can see all of you dancing and we can hear the music way up here. This is God’s view and we’ve just got to make this project happen!” exclaimed Marvin Gross, as he waived down from the Pismo Preserve to the crowd below at Dinosaur Caves Park. The Land Conservancy aims to transform a 900-acre private ranch above Pismo Beach into a public open space for multi-use outdoor recreation including over ten miles of hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding trails.
To successfully create Pismo Preserve, The Land Conservancy must raise $12 million by August 2014. The $12 million project cost covers the bargain sale property acquisition, infrastructure improvements, and a maintenance endowment. All are requirements of opening the site for community use.
“We have asked the community to stretch and give generously towards our Pismo Preserve effort. They are doing exactly that. Our regional elected officials, our local business leaders, and certainly our community supporters are stepping up to help make this project happen,” said Herb Kandel, President of The Land Conservancy Board of Trustees.
The Land Conservancy has secured about $6.9 million with an additional $4 million request pending from the Wildlife Conservation Board. The remaining $1.1 million is expected to come from a combination of sources including the Regional Water Quality Control Board ($800,000 request; July 31st hearing), the City of San Luis Obispo ($100,000 request; tentatively mid-August hearing), and private donors & foundations ($100,000+ requests). The project represents the most ambitious community fundraising effort undertaken in The Land Conservancy’s history.
The Land Conservancy has until August to raise the remaining $1.1M required to complete the Pismo Preserve project. (The $4M award from the Wildlife Conservation Board will be determined at an August 28 Board meeting in Sacramento.)
As a regional public park, Pismo Preserve will provide many benefits to residents and visitors throughout the county. The project will most significantly impact the 5-Cities Area which is the most densely populated region in San Luis Obispo County, but has no upland trail system for hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking. Further, two communities adjacent to the proposed project – Grover Beach and Oceano – are classified as disadvantaged communities (those having median household incomes at or under 80% of the California Median Household Income of $61,400 according to the 2008-2012 census) and will directly benefit from the recreation, health, and environmental benefits provided by the permanent protection of this open space. As a free amenity for the public which protects air and water quality, the Pismo Preserve will contribute to San Luis Obispo County residents’ quality of life.
“The Pismo Preserve will contribute to the environmental health, economic health, and social health of our communities,” noted Land Conservancy Executive Director, Kaila Dettman.
PISMO PRESERVE FUNDING BREAKDOWN
$12 million – Total Needed
$8 million – State Agencies
$4,000,000 –California State Coastal Conservancy COMPLETED
$4,000,000 – Wildlife Conservation Board PENDING
$4 million – Regional Government, Private Donors, Foundations, Etc.
$2,045,000– SLO County Parks, City of Pismo Beach, AG, Grover Beach COMPLETED
$825,000– Community and business donations COMPLETED
$1,130,000– Current Funding Gap
Photo from L to R: Henry Myers (Kon Tiki Inn), Gar Grossman (Coastal Community Builders), and Marilee Hyman (Dinosaur Caves Preservation Society) helped raise $80,000 for Pismo Preserve.