Nonprofit signs agreement to fund Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park

 In Arts and Culture, Public Lands

The nonprofit Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks signed a three-year agreement with California State Parks to fund maintenance and operations of Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park in a historic district of downtown Santa Cruz.

Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks, the educational partner to state parks in Santa Cruz County since 1976, agreed to raise $45,000 per year to prevent the park from closing on July 1 due to state budget cuts, reported the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

Located on the southern edge of Mission Hill, the park is home to the oldest building in Santa Cruz County. Built between 1822 and 1824, the park’s signature seven-room adobe is the only remaining structure from Mission Santa Cruz, founded in 1791. In 1958, the state purchased the only remaining mission adobe building, which remained the residence of the last surviving heir of the home until 1983. Then, after eight years of reconstructing and restoring the adobe, the state park finally opened in 1991.

The adobe is the only building of its kind preserved as a museum in California. Built with bricks baked with a mix of clay-rich mud, straw, manure and sand, the adobe served as housing for Native Californian families who lived and worked at the Mission, which operated until 1834 when it was secularized. Before the arrival of the Spaniards, over 10,000 native people lived along the central coast from present day Monterey to the San Francisco Bay.

More fundraising ahead

While the new agreement enables the nonprofit to keep the park open, they will need to raise and sustain ongoing funds through donations and a park store. The group now funds state park staff who conduct free educational programs for the public including about 2,800 school children annually.

Blog series
This article is part of an ongoing series on threats to California State Parks and the search for sustainable funding. The removal of Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park from the closure list brings the total number of parks saved to 15 out of 70 parks slated to close by July 1, 2012.

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