Lower Presidio Historic Park

2015 in Review


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.


OurIMG_1044s is a five-year commitment to raise the necessary funds and direct the construction of agreed improvements that will make 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.

The spectacular view from Lower Presidio Historic Park

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.

Proposed entrance Sign at Artillery Gate
The Range of signs designed for Lower Presidio Historic Park

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.

OMF sponsored Monterey’s Annual 4th of July paradeOMBA-July4-fullpg-MCW-01 as well as the City’s new celebration:  Monterey County–Language Capital of the World.

LCOW festBoth Sponsorships will be continued in 2016, when we are hoping for even bigger turnouts and celebration.

In September we presented Artists in the Gardens, a Plein air competition staged in the historic area of Downtown Monterey. With support from OMBA, the Historic Garden League, City of Monterey Volunteers in the Gardens, State Parks, the Junior League of Monterey County, Venture Gallery and Portola Hotel & Spa, the event encouraged people to visit and learn more about the gardens, as well as to appreciate work of local artists. winners#1
pleinair # 4Prizes were awarded to deserving local artists and some pieces were sold to patrons in attendance during the two day event.

December brought the Angel Auction, a joint project with Monterey’s Colton Hall Museum & Cultural Arts Commission. Twenty unique, one-of-a-kind large wooden Angels (replicas of the City’s downtown holiday decorations) were created by contemporary local artists.

Attendance at the auction exceeded 100 patrons and we raised over $4,000 for the renovation of the City’s original Christmas angels. This fund-raiser benefitted both organizations and added to the ongoing restoration of the City Angels.

Throughout the year, we widened our visibility in a variety of ways:

  • Participated in Monterey’s downtown Farmers Market on Tuesday afternoons;
  • Participated in West End Celebration in Sand City;
  • Participated in October’s “History Fest” in historic Monterey;
  • Revitalized and updated our web-site with current information about events;
  • Participated in Monterey County Gives! to raise funds for Lower Presidio Historic Park project.

Finally, we are pleased to announce that the Old Monterey Foundation received Downtown Angel Award and Certificate from the Old Monterey Business Association at its annual Christmas Luncheon for our significant contributions to enhancing the experience of our Downtown.  It is gratifying to be recognized by our business community.



Looking to the future:

February 112016 will mark the 5th anniversary of the Old Monterey Foundation. We look forward to a big year! Watch for our major event next spring to introduce Lower Presidio Historic Park. As always, we thank you for your past support and hope that we can call on you to help us continue our service to historic Monterey. Your encouragement, as well as donations, are most appreciated. Please access the donation button on this web-site for tax deductible donations to Lower Presidio Historic Park.


Happy New Year!