Fight to keep historic mural from becoming history - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Fight to keep historic mural from becoming history

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SAN DIEGO (CBS8) - San Diego residents are fighting to save three historical murals painted on a building downtown. 

The owner of the California Theatre plans on tearing the building down, but now, there is a local push to preserve the building and its history. 

"When you look at it, you're immediately transported back to a specific place in time," said Bruce Coons, Executive Director of the Save Our Heritage Organization. 

Coons is one of many San Diegans behind a push to keep the mural as is, as well as maintaining the building. 

"This mural and this theatre are undeniably part of San Diego's rich history," said Coons. 

However, the building's Beverly Hills based owner disagrees, writing in a statement: 

Rid the city of the dilapidated structure that currently resides on the property and instead create a fresh space complete with a new communal atmosphere for Downtown residents and visitors to enjoy.

Sloan Capital Partners has provided renderings of a future development called Overture, a mixed use development which includes an outdoor event space, retail stores, bars, restaurants and apartments. The building hasn't been used since the 1990's, but proponents who want to keep the murals say there's a lot that can be done with the structure as is. 

"In a perfect world, I would love to see developers try to come up with a plan where both the theatre and mural could be incorporated into a new design. I would love to see that," said Enrique Limon. 

Limon is a community activist who started a petition in hopes of persuading the city's Historical Board to protect all three murals on the building by officially designating them as historical. A meeting on the issue is scheduled for Thursday, but currently, city staff is recommending against designation. 

"We believe the HRB is going to designate it. In any case, if they don't, we'll take it to the state," said Limon. 

City officials say that because the building is a historical landmark, no matter what happens with the murals, the owner will have to get a site development permit and environmental review which will identify mitigation measures to off-set damage. 

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