Crystal Cove Receives $2M to Help Restore Historic Cottages


Crystal Cove Conservancy recently received a $2 million boost from the California State Coastal Conservancy to help in their fundraising efforts to restore the 17 remaining cottages along the North Beach of Crystal Cove State Park.

: Crystal Cove Conservancy received a $2 million boost from the California State Coastal Conservancy to help restore 17 historic cottages along the North Beach of Crystal Cove State Park. Photo courtesy of Crystal Cove Conservancy

The Coastal Conservancy voted at their public meeting on Feb. 6 to approve $2 million in funding that will go towards the second phase of the project—the historic restoration of the 17 cottages.

The first phase of the project began in December 2018 after $19 million was secured through private donations and low-interest loans to fund the first portion of the project, which includes hillside retaining walls, underground utilities and a 650-foot elevated pathway and boardwalk that will protect the 1930s–50s era beachfront bungalows from 2050 sea level rise projections of 50 feet. The infrastructure construction phase continues to be on time, on budget and is expected to be complete in late June 2020, conservancy officials said.

The infrastructure construction phase of the restoration project is expected to be complete in late June 2020. Photo courtesy of Crystal Cove Conservancy

“We are thrilled about the tremendous support from our longtime partners, the California State Coastal Conservancy,” said Kate Wheeler, President and CEO of Crystal Cove Conservancy. “This funding will ensure that we will be able to seamlessly transition to the second and final phase of renovating the cottages, which will result in an additional 24,000 low-cost overnight stays for the public to enjoy.”

The Coastal Conservancy has been a long-time supporter of Crystal Cove Conservancy and the work they do to ensure that as many people as possible have access to the coast. These are the first grant funds awarded under California’s Proposition 68 which provides funding for low-cost coastal accommodations.

Crystal Cove Conservancy is continuing its efforts to raise additional funds to support the project’s second phase and has identified about $12 million of the $28 million needed in total, with $16 million left to acquire to fully complete the project. The restoration of the 17 remaining cottages will complete the vision for Crystal Cove State Park, create a sustainable revenue stream to support conservation and education efforts in the park, and result in an additional 22 affordable overnight rental units coming online.

One of these last 17 cottages, which is designed to operate as a hostel-style dorm, will host overnight coastal engineering programs for underserved high school students from around Southern California.

“With our partners at University of California Irvine, we will be educating and inspiring students from inland and underserved communities about the challenges of sea level rise and future coastal change as they sleep mere feet from the ocean,” said Wheeler.

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