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County's Historic Resource Grant Program funds wide-ranging preservation efforts

SAN JOSE – The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously (5-0) today to approve nearly $5 million for projects as part of its one-time Historic Grant Program (HGP). A total of over 50 projects were funded, with ten projects located in or serving Supervisorial District Five (North County and West Valley communities).

The Historic Grant Program was established by the Board of Supervisors in June of 2018 in response to a proposal by County Supervisor Joe Simitian. The purpose of the program is to acknowledge and preserve the history of Santa Clara County, with a preference for projects that acknowledge and celebrate untold stories. The fund was created using a one-time $5 million allocation from the General Fund Contingency Reserve, with one million dollars allocated to each of the five Supervisorial Districts.

“Silicon Valley is usually known more for making history than for honoring it,” said Simitian. “I’m pleased the funding is providing an opportunity for our community to share these untold stories.”

The projects funded in Simitian’s District Five are:

  • Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University – A series of interactive mini-Conferences for Santa Clara County nonprofits;
  • Environmental Volunteers – Restoration of the Palo Alto EcoCenter;
  • City of Palo Alto – Protection and restoration of Arnautoff Frescoes and restoration of the original clay tile roof on the City’s Roth Building, a Birge Clark Landmark and the future home of the Palo Alto Museum;
  • Hakone Foundation – Restoration of Azumaya (the Tea Waiting  Building) and the garden’s extensive pond system;
  • Association of the Los Altos Historical Museum –Redo permanent museum exhibit, create short videos of a selection of underrepresented historic individuals who encapsulate the range of influences that have shaped northern Santa Clara County;
  • Woman’s Club of Palo Alto – Replace a deteriorated roof and fascia on the 1916 historic club building structure which acted as the women's arm of local government and school affairs at a time when women were ineligible to vote or hold political offices;
  • Sangam Arts – Two events led by the Confederation of the Ohlone People, one of which will take place in Saratoga’s Montalvo Arts Center; and,​
  • La Raza Historical Society –Preservation of the Chiechi House at San  Jose History Park.

“The diversity in organizations and projects funded reflects the diversity in our community,” said Simitian. “Santa Clara County has a long and rich history. Preserving that history is an important aspect in maintaining our collective culture, and understanding this shared narrative that unites us.”

Simitian said he was, “particularly pleased this one-time funding was available. With tough budget times ahead,” he noted, “it’s unlikely we’ll be able to repeat the program anytime soon.