Architectural gem preserved – for now

Dear Friends of the 1903 County Jail in Martinez and to those folks who have recently discovered our Save the Jail effort. Thank you for wanting to know more about the status of this project. As the newly organized Architectural Preservation Foundation of Contra Costa County is still very small, our limited resources, coupled with a long vacation and a serious illness has made it difficult to keep you properly informed.

We’re back and we’ve got a huge announcement to tell you about! We have achieved our first important milestone on saving the jail – Thanks to regular correspondence and meetings with the Capital Projects division of the County Administrator’s Office, our County Supervisor, and CCC Public works, we have reached an agreement to delay any further action on demolishing the jail FOR TWO YEARS.

Special thanks to those supporters who participated with us in these meetings right up until last week.

So, where do we go from here?

The Environmental Impact Report (EIR) relating to the jail was our focus in 2016.  A FINAL REVISED EIR is expected to be published on April 25, 2017, according to Chief Assistant County Administrator, Eric Angstadt.  As it has been explained to us, it will include responses to comments made on the draft EIR by the public. It will include the county’s decision to demolish the 1944 portion of the jail complex, and preserve the original turn of the century granite building for two years.  It will include language that we will be given a “stay of execution” of the old jail for two years while we develop a plan for deferred maintenance and renovation. Part of the agreement will be that a viable plan to make the jail be made habitable and useable.

The elephant in the room is that funding for such an accomplishment must be raised.   Funds to cover expenses such as IRS fees, research time, consultation fees, and other costs related to assessing the rehabilitation and renovation of the building. This will not be easy, but as we look at other local preservation projects that have succeeded, we believe that it can be done.

It is essential that we increase our base of support to get the needed work done. We are calling on those who read this to step forward with your pledge of support.

• We need publicity writers.

• We need grant writers.

• We need historical researchers who can pull the substantial collection of fascinating history we have accumulated.

• We need people who are willing to drive a fund raising program.

• We need people who will further organize the non-profit that has been established with the IRS.

Will you consider donating your time for this cause? If so, please call (925) 352-3334.

Thank you! More specifics on the dimensions of this project will be forthcoming.

Your friends in history,

Save Martinez’s Historical Old Jail,

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