Letters to the Editor

Adobe will always be centerpiece of DANA

Thank you for the recent front-page article (“A nod to the past,” April 1) on our beloved project. There is so much happening with DANA, Dana Adobe Nipomo Amigos, in the coming months, it’s important to keep the public informed. Being at the extreme southern end of San Luis Obispo County sometimes works to our detriment, but the importance of the site cannot be overstated.

As reported in the article, the DANA Cultural Center is poised to become a destination for visitors worldwide to experience early California history, the rancho era and the intersections of people, politics, cultures and nature throughout time.

There are a couple of minor points in the article I need to clarify.

The first is that we didn’t change the name of the organization. We are incorporated as Dana Adobe Nipomo Amigos (DANA) and always will be. The updated destination name is intended to encompass the entire site as we move forward with the build-out and become much more than just the restored house. There was much discussion about this by the board with a concern that we not appear to distance ourselves from the adobe itself. The Dana Adobe will forever be the crown jewel of the DANA Cultural Center. The first word is all caps, as it’s the acronym for Dana Adobe Nipomo Amigos, so the Dana Adobe will always be part of our name. We tried many variations, and this proved to be the most concise and inclusive.

The other point to clarify is the project’s cost. From DANA’s inception in 1999, the sum of all funds invested — to restore the adobe, purchase 130 acres and implement riparian restoration — total about $7 million. The new state grant that supports the Nature Education Facility development, to be completed in 2016, is for $2.98 million, for a combined total project investment of about $10 million. An early cost estimate to complete the final phase of the project and establish sustainability for this community asset into the future is $4 million.

The projection of $4 million is an early estimate and might change, which brings me to an important misconception we need to dispel. DANA is not (trust me!) flush with cash. The organization has been very successful in obtaining grants and runs extremely efficiently with just $1 out of $14 being spent on administration, but we are absolutely dependent on all the individuals, service organizations and foundations that support DANA with unrestricted funds that allow us to operate.

Your membership renewal or gift may seem insignificant next to multimillion dollar grants, but membership counts, as it is the very lifeblood giving the Dana Adobe the ability to be open to the public and claim a significant position as a Central Coast community asset.