Archive » June 12, 2008
By Robert Perry, Staff Writer
Historic Trust looks to restore mill, groves
The Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation made a presentation to about twenty-five interested persons at the Old Mission Santa Inés in Solvang June 4 on a proposed project it wants to develop next to the mission.
The Trust is seeking public input on a plan to lease Lot 72 from the City of Solvang. The lot lies directly south of the mission and is adjacent to a piece of property that has been designated as historically significant by state and federal authorities.
The Trust has already acquired two pieces of property to the east of the mission that once were used as productive agricultural land by early settlers in the valley.
The property additionally has two building that once housed mills used for the production of grain and wool products.
Jarrell Jackman, Executive Director for the Trust, Steve Treanor, a consultant, and Michael Imwalle, an archaeologist employed by the Trust, described plans that are still being formed to lease the lot from Solvang. Jackman discussed the Trust’s intent to preserve the property as open space and to make use of the total of 95 acres of property, which would include Lot 72, as olive groves and trails for public use.
The Trust’s representatives said that the property would become a part of the state’s park system, just as the Mission La Purisima in Lompoc had.
The Solvang City Council had already decided to allow a lease of Lot 72 after closed-door negotiations with the Trust, said City Manager Brad Vidro.
Some members of the audience voiced concerns regarding the closed-door nature of the negotiations and their lack of input in the process.
Jackman tried to assuage those concerns as he explained that the public would be closely involved in the process of deciding what the proposed park would contain and how it would operate.
The Santa Barbara organization already has obtained title to two adjacent pieces of property directly east of the mission and south of the intersection of Alamo Pintado Road and Mission Drive. The easternmost piece of property had what Jackman described as a fulling mill, a specialized mill that was designed by the early settlers to convert woven raw wool into a soft fiber fabric more suitable for clothing manufacture by removing natural oils and to thicken the fabric by felting.
Jackman said that this fulling mill is the only one of its kind in the western United States.
Representatives of the church have already provided easements to allow access from the Mission Road entrance of the mission to the proposed lot to the east.
Tentative plans for the parcels include an olive grove, the rehabilitation of the mill structures, and walking trails of about three miles within the proposed park.
Treanor told those gathered that “we believe we can be honorable partners” in the project.
Jackman also explained that, “Our purpose here is to let you know who we are.”