An effort that began in January to purchase land for the proposed Pismo Preserve, an undeveloped cattle ranch that forms the scenic backdrop for Pismo Beach, could come to a successful conclusion Tuesday if San Luis Obispo County supervisors allocate $400,000 to the cause.
In a letter to supervisors, Kaila Dettman, executive director of the Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County, said the group is only $500,000 short of its goal of raising the $12 million to buy the 900-acre private ranch northeast of Pismo Beach.
Dettman said she is confident the group can raise $100,000 in private donations but needs $400,000 more to seal the deal. The deadline for raising the money is the end of the month.
The county has already contributed $1.1 million to the effort. The additional $400,000 would come from the county’s contingency fund.
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The county ended its 2013-14 fiscal year on June 30 with a big enough surplus to cover the donation, said Supervisor Adam Hill, whose district includes Pismo Beach. The surplus came as a result of unanticipated savings from several departments.
“The difference this time is that an award from the county now will not act as a catalyst as it did before, but as a capstone that closes the deal,” Dettman said in her letter.
Efforts to conserve the Pismo Preserve have enjoyed widespread support. The property contains more than 10 miles of roads and trails and encompasses the ridge behind Pismo Beach and Shell Beach, offering spectacular views of the coastline from Point Sal to Point San Luis.
At $8 million, the bulk of the money to purchase the property comes from state agencies. Local businesses, foundations and individual donors have also contributed $1.7 million.
The Land Conservancy plans to open the property free of charge to the public next summer. An operating endowment of $1.2 million as well as $1.4 million in access improvements are part of the deal.
Allocation of the $400,000 will require approval of four of the five county supervisors. At the request of Hill, the item was put at the end of the supervisors’ agenda to allow for a celebration at the conclusion of the meeting.
The meeting is expected to conclude by noon.