Octagon Barn just south of San Luis Obispo to get major improvements

The Octagon Barn on South Higuera Street in San Luis Obispo.
The Octagon Barn on South Higuera Street in San Luis Obispo. dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

Thanks to a $263,000 grant, there will be extensive landscaping, an irrigation system and a quarter-mile walking trail built at the Octagon Barn.

The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County received the grant for the improvements.

The historic eight-sided barn is located on South Higuera Street just south of the San Luis Obispo city limit. The landscaping work, which will include planting 150 trees and more than 1,000 shrubs, is scheduled to be done by the end of 2014, said Kaila Dettman, Land Conservancy executive director.

The money came from the state’s Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation Program and is intended to be mitigation for traffic and environmental impacts of the Los Osos Valley Road interchange project.

“The goal of the work is to develop the site as a staging area for the Bob Jones Pathway,” Dettman said. “Bicyclists use the site as a stopping or meeting place because there is no southbound staging area on that side of the highway.”

The Bob Jones Pathway is a separate walking and biking pathway that will eventually link San Luis Obispo to Avila Beach. A segment from Ontario Road to Avila Beach is already complete and heavily used by the public.

The Land Conservancy has spent the last decade saving the Octagon Barn, which was sagging and in danger of collapsing. The group plans to eventually convert the barn into a meeting center. Another $150,000 is needed to install fire sprinklers and electrical infrastructure before the barn can be opened to the public.