California State Budget Funds SLO County Road and Conservation Projects
Four San Luis Obispo County projects will receive a total of $8 million under the new California state budget, including efforts to restore a historic veterans hall and conserve huge tracts of land.
On June 30, Governor Gavin Newsom signed the state’s $308 billion budget for the 2022-23 fiscal year.
“There are a lot of things in this budget that will be very helpful to the county and to Cal Poly,” said California State Senator John Laird, who represents District 17.
The budget includes $1 million for “much-needed renovations” to the aging Cayucos Veterans Memorial building, Laird said in a news release.
According to San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Bruce Gibson, this funding will be “a huge help in closing what we recently estimated to be a $4-5 million gap in project funding.”
“We continue to work with Senator Laird’s office on other sources of increased funding,” Gibson said.
The state budget also includes about $1.5 million to help the Cayucos Land Conservancy purchase 2,250 acres of coastal land between Cayucos and Morro Bay, creating “new open space for hiking and other recreation, with low-impact, low-cost camping and connecting the trail to the beach,” the statement read.
“I’m very happy that it’s phased into acquisition,” Laird said of the Toro Coast Preserve project.
“We are all very grateful to Senator Laird,” wrote attorney John Carsel, who chairs Cayucos’ advisory board, via email. “I’m obviously excited about getting more funding for the rebuilding of Veterans Hall and for land conservation getting a lot of the old Chevron property. Both are vital projects for the maintenance of the small town of Cayucos.
Carsel wrote that the hall “is the heart of Cayucos and much of our integrity is tied to the greenbelt surrounding our town”.
The budget allocates $2.5 million for efforts by The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County to permanently preserve the Camatta Ranch in Santa Margarita. The circa 1846 ranch, which includes 32,000 acres of prairie and oak forest, is located west of the Carizzo Plain.
Laird also helped secure $3 million for the City of Paso Robles “to make Creston Road safer for pedestrians and cyclists, beautify the corridor with streetscape improvements, and improve transit conditions, motorists and businesses,” the statement said.
Although part of Creston Road is within the Paso Robles city limits, Laird said it carries a lot of traffic that would otherwise travel on state highways, such as Highway 46. street a concern of the state.
Elsewhere on the Central Coast, Laird helped the Monterey County Water Resources Agency recover approximately $6.1 million for broken valves at the base of Lake Nacimiento and Lake San Antonio, which will allow ” managers to access low-level water during droughts” when lake water levels are low. , he said.
And, as chairman of the state Senate Education Budget Subcommittee, Laird “was instrumental” in securing $20.3 million to close the funding gap for the reconstruction of Cal Poly’s Swanton Pacific Ranch, according to the release. The 3,200-acre ranch in Santa Cruz County that lost several structures due to the CZU Lightning Complex fires in 2020.
The California State University system had gotten some money from insurance and disaster funding “but they were still $20 million short,” he said.
Laird said rebuilding university facilities ravaged by wildfires was a personal goal.
“It’s 15 miles from my house, and it’s a really great facility,” Laird said.