As we look forward to 2016 and 2015 comes to a close, we would like to thank our friends and partners for helping the Old Monterey Foundation fulfill our mission to promote, support and enhance the artistic and cultural environment of historic downtown Monterey, California.
Some highlights of the year:
This year we embarked upon our most ambitious project yet: the implementation of the plan for Lower Presidio Historic Park. This project is best described as a public-private partnership with the City of Monterey, with OMF serving as a community-oriented tax-exempt entity to gather financial support to implement this very excellent plan which was adopted by the City in 2002, but has not been implemented as yet due to lack of municipal funding.
Ours is a five-year commitment to raise the necessary funds and direct the construction of agreed improvements that will make the Lower Presidio Historic Park a centerpiece of historic Old Monterey. What is largely an unknown public facility will be turned into what looks and feels like a park (Phase I) that welcomes the public, local and visitor alike. Pathways, interpretative signs, benches and tables, and an entrance that is easily located for even the most casual visitor. Later Phases will renovate some historic buildings located on site and develop interpretation of El Castillo and Fort Mervine. An amphitheater will be installed for concerts overlooking the Bay. This 25.3 acre site will become the jewel of Monterey, worthy of its description as the Most Historically Significant Site on the West Coast.
Starting from scratch, we have been successful in raising nearly one-half the funds necessary to build out Phase I in our first year. Against a total projected cost of $680,000, we have obtained commitments for over $320,000 by January 2016. Starting with a generous grant of $215,000 from Monterey’s Neighborhood Improvement Fund and Committee, we have received $50,000 from the Thomas Doud, Sr. and Anita M. Doud Fund I and the Engracia Irene Murray Field of Interest Fund of the Community Foundation for Monterey County; a $4,000 Opportunity Grant from Community Foundation for Monterey County; $20,000 from the Monterey Peninsula Foundation that sponsors the AT&T Golf Tournament; $2,500 from the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District and other donations from numerous contributors. Our progress and growing community enthusiasm is well reflected in this recent news article appearing in The Herald:
Progress in development of the Park to date include completion of engineering plans and specifications for the Phase I improvements, and development of remarkable signs and monuments by our contractors Sandy Freeman and Kelly McCay.
The package is about to be submitted to the Army and State, with an optimistic start of construction date in June 2016.
With ongoing support from the Marcia F. DeVoe Fund at Community Foundation for Monterey County, we continued our collaboration with the Monterey Museum of Art to present excellent speakers to augment the Museum’s special art exhibits. This year programs were presented by Robert Edwards and Julianne Burton-Carvajal, covering the iconic career of Pedro de Lemos and a third program by Scott Shields highlighting the art of Armin Hansen.
All programs were free to the public and were presented in the Irvine Auditorium, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. These excellent programs were standing-room only and demonstrated a strong local interest in Monterey Art and History. The Old Monterey Foundation is planning another lecture series in 2016, dates and subjects to be announced soon. Watch this website for announcements.