Racing to save the old Caliente murals - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Racing to save the old Caliente murals

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A decision on the fate of the large advertising mural in downtown San Diego for the Agua Caliente racetrack was delayed Thursday by the city's Historical Resources Board, until at least June.
The 80-by-40-foot ad is on the west wall of the dilapidated California Theatre, which a developer hopes to turn into a 40-story residential tower.
The sign, visible in much of downtown, has gained support of advocates of preserving historic buildings. Two smaller advertisements are on other sides of the 89-year-old structure on C Street, but received less support.

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The board unanimously voted to ask a consultant who issued a report on the issue to delve into several aspects more thoroughly. Chairman John Lemmo called it "inadequate in many respects.''
The report had said the signs are not significant under any HRB criteria.
Bruce Coons, of the Save Our Heritage Organisation, said the large Caliente sign, depicting a horse on a yellow background, is "the epitome'' of the board's criteria.
"I think it does it more effectively than many other historic sites,'' Coons said.
"Just viewing it, you're immediately transported back to a particular place and time, and it's hard to avoid it,'' he said. "It's a history lesson on the street. If this isn't historic, I don't know what is.''
The $125 million project is scheduled to be reviewed next month by Civic San Diego, which handles downtown development issues for the city, and could go before the City Council this summer.


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