SLO County supervisors approve first round of funding to repair Cayucos Veterans Hall

The Cayucos Veterans Memorial Building has been condemned as floors sag near the west side of building.
The Cayucos Veterans Memorial Building has been condemned as floors sag near the west side of building. dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors took a first step toward refurbishing the Cayucos Veterans Hall on Tuesday by allocating $236,600 to a project that will take years to complete.

The board voted unanimously in the consent agenda to allocate funds and approve a consultant agreement with Studio Design Group Architects in San Luis Obispo for phase one of the contract at a value of $96,160, according to a staff report.

The state-owned building, which is managed by the county and operated by the Cayucos Lions Club, was closed to the public on May 4 after county inspectors found it was structurally unsound.

Supervisor Bruce Gibson described the facility as the physical space in the community “that serves as its soul, its beating heart — the place that defines a town’s sense of being, its identity.”

The Veterans Hall’s meaning to the community was made clear by about two dozen Cayucos residents who petitioned the board Tuesday to approve the project. The vets hall on the shore has hosted weddings, galas and other celebrations, in addition to serving as the primary meeting hall in town.

Ardella Swanberg, president of the Cayucos Art Association, said the loss of the use of the building “has been devastating to (the group) as well as to the community and local businesses. This building is the heart, soul and lifeblood of Cayucos.”

Since the hall’s closure, community members have hosted events in a tent, which residents say is held together with tape and is a poor barrier from wind and rain.

John Carsel, president of the Cayucos Citizens Advisory Council, told supervisors Tuesday that residents are grateful for the tent that was erected quickly, but “it’s been problematic.” He said water was flowing through the tent at a recent advisory council meeting.

“We’re a hardy bunch. Even so, with our coats on, we were shivering cold,” Carsel said.

Funding for the multiyear project will come from the countywide Community Buildings budget and a project budget created to address dry rot at the hall.