News Rancho Santa Fe Rancho Santa Fe Lead Story

Osuna project on track, but still in need of funds

RANCHO SANTA FE — Ron McMahon, president of the Osuna Ranch Steering Committee, came to the Jan. 19 Association meeting to give the board a status report on the Osuna Adobe and Ranch restoration.

So far so good, was the essence of his report, but there are challenges ahead, such as garnering funding for Phase II.

Riders can board their horses and take riding lessons at the ranch. Photo by Patty McCormac

“No additional work can commence until the board determines how it can and should be funded,” he said.

The next phase includes restoration of the adobe, quarters for an on-site caretaker and bathrooms and a small kitchen for visitors.

The cost is estimated at $30,000 to finalize construction documents, $275,000 for the actual construction and $75,000 for landscaping.

“It is our vision to preserve and enhance this valuable Covenant asset in a manner respectful to its historic past while creating a vibrant community resource for current and future generations,” McMahon said.

Director Larry Spitcaufsky asked if it might be practical to move the adobe to the village where it could be more easily utilized as a historical asset.

“The site the building is on is as important as the building itself,” Director Dick Doughty said.

The Association purchased the 28-acre parcel in June 2006 for $12 million with open space funds. The intent is to use it for historical education, as a meeting place for members and as an equestrian center.

Built in 1831, the original two-room adobe underwent a restoration and expansion in 1924 by Lilian Rice, Rancho Santa Fe’s original architect. She supervised the construction and new adobe bricks were manufactured to replace missing or damaged wall sections.

McMahon said the Osuna Ranch is one of the most significant historic sites in the state of California.

“The background (of the ranch) establishes the adobe as the crown jewel of historical reference for our almost 90-year-old community,” McMahon said.

“We have an architect that specializes in historic buildings,” he said. “They have developed a plan. We developed guiding principals for the plan,” he added.

The ranch was purchased in 2006 by the Association to be used as a place for historical education, as a meeting place for members and as an equestrian center. Photo by Patty McCormac

Very important is the establishment of the Amigos de Osuna, a group intended to be the stewards and docents for the Ranch, McMahon said.

“This is a support group intended to help with management, provide docents and help with fundraising,” he said.

Although a master plan for the property has been established, nothing is set in stone.

“It can always be modified as we go forward,” he said.

The first phase of the restoration is nearly complete.

“We’ve already done a lot of work, most of it you can’t see,” board President Jack Queen said.

McMahon said the work done so far includes a historic structural report, an archeological study completed on the area surrounding the property, drainage control and yard work to minimize further deterioration. Preliminary architectural plans were also commissioned. The lot split, which could result in the sale of a single-family home on the property, is almost completed. The committee has worked with Christy Wilson and the Rancho Santa Fe Foundation to establish the Osuna Adobe Restoration Fund. So far it has funded the Historic Structures report and the Historic Landscape Study.

McMahon said the main issue for the Osuna parcel and adobe restoration now is funding.

He said he hopes that after the lot split, the house on the property can be sold to help fund the restoration.

McMahon said he also hopes that additional funding can come from open space funds, private grants through the Rancho Santa Fe Foundation, community fundraising and historic restoration grants.

Queen, who was involved in a similar restoration in Central California, said it is hard to imagine what an asset to the community something like the Osuna Ranch can be.

“Let’s get it done,” Queen said.

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