Pismo Preserve project running nearly $5 million over budget
August 30, 2016
The Pismo Preserve project is running two years behind schedule and nearly $5 million over budget. The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County had planned to open the preserve to the public this fall, but the organization recently announced construction is not expected to be completed until late 2018.
In 2014, the Land Conservancy purchased the more than 900-acre property, which is situated northeast of the city of Pismo Beach. The Land Conservancy paid $12 million for the property, a price that local real estate professionals said was too high.
Last week, the Land Conservancy stated in a press release it is estimated to cost an additional $4.8 million to complete the project. The organization expects to acquire the funds from state and local government grants, family foundations and in-kind services from contractors and suppliers. Government funding already accounted for much of the funds used to purchase the property.
The Land Conservancy cites design difficulties and environmental regulatory hurdles as reasons for construction delays and cost increases. Additionally, offers for assistance with construction have yet to come to fruition, according to the news release.
Builders must still construct sidewalk and a retaining wall that allows safe bicycle and pedestrian access to the preserve from the Highway 101 interchange along Mattie Road. They must also construct two parking lots, water-efficient restrooms, directional signage and a one-mile trail that is accessible for people with disabilities.
Volunteers have completed a network of 11 miles of new trails, though. The Land Conservancy says it will allow the public to take part in docent-led tours, hikes and equestrian and mountain bike rides on the preserve by the end of this year.
County Supervisor Adam Hill, whose reelection campaign is citing the project as one of the supervisor’s achievements, helped broker the sale of the Pismo Preserve property to the Land Conservancy. Since then, Hill has received campaign contributions from Phoenix developer Bradley Wilde, who profited from the sale of the property.
Wilde contributed $6,000 to Hill’s reelection campaign in 2015. The developer gave another $1,000 earlier this year.
Hill recently praised Wilde for making large contributions to his campaign. Hill made the remark in an email after berating local business leaders for not doing the same.