2002 - Volume 33, Issue 1
Coronado Railroad Receives Historic Designation!
SOHO's three-year effort to preserve the historic 1888 Coronado Railroad received a great boost on Friday, February 1st, when the State Historical Resources Board added the railroad to the California Register of Historical Resources. This means that the railroad is now under the control of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and is now subject to environmental review before any project can be approved that may have an adverse impact.
The Port of San Diego and the cities of Chula Vista and San Diego had opposed designation because of proposed development plans that called for removal of the railroad. The city of National City, The San Diego Railroad Museum, San Diego Electric Railway Association, San Diego Rail, San Diego Railway Partners, Train Riders Association of California (TRAC) and the African Studies Program at SDSU supported the designation. The railroad is owned by the San Diego and Arizona Eastern Railway (a Nevada corporation) which is wholly owned by San Diego's Metropolitan Transit Development Board (MTDB). The owner did not oppose designation.
We expect to meet with the agencies and all parties involved, in an effort to reach a settlement agreement that will provide for the preservation of the railroad while allowing the development goals of the associated entities to be met. This would expedite the environmental process and would be similar to those agreements that SOHO has successfully completed with the San Diego Padres and with the Hotel Del Coronado. SOHO is confident that all issues can be resolved to our mutual satisfaction and that we will be able to preserve this outstanding historical resource for future generations while allowing responsible development. Failureto reach an agreement would result in a three to four year delay, plus a minimum of 18 months or longer for litigation at which time under the new CEQA regulation they would still be required to adopt an alternative that would lessen the impact to the historic resource.
SOHO wishes to thank all the groups and individuals who supported this designation, Alex Bevil who wrote the application for SOHO and especially the individuals who traveled to Davis to appear before the commission: Richard Hamilton, Alen Miller, Attorney, John L'Estrange, Ed Kravitz and our Executive Director, Bruce Coons. Architect John Henderson, who is a member of the commission, made an impassioned speech about the importance of the Coronado line and the necessity of its preservation. Thank you John!
Carrizo Gorge Tours in conjunction with The San Diego Railroad Museum and San Diego Electric Railway Association
currently operates* excursions on the Coronado Railroad the First Sunday of every month from 12:00pm until 4:00pm. Tickets are sold at the Historic National City Depot at the corner of Bay Marina Drive and Harrison Avenue in National City; the phone number is (619) 474-4400. Be sure to take the opportunity to enjoy this unique experience in 1880's bayfront railroading of an outstanding setting.
*Editor's note: PSRMA (San Diego Railway Museum) elected to stop running these trains in January 2003.
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