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Monday, January 11, 2021

Pismo Beach to fund needed repairs at Chapman Estate

Posted By on Mon, Jan 11, 2021 at 10:30 AM

Pismo Beach is planning to put about $650,000 of its general fund toward what staff say are much-needed repairs at the Chapman Estate, a well-known oceanside event venue and museum in Shell Beach that’s struggling to turn a profit amid the coronavirus pandemic.

click to enlarge GETTING A MAKEOVER Chapman Estate, a Shell Beach property that is often used for fundraising events, is on schedule to get some much-needed repairs. - FILE PHOTO
  • GETTING A MAKEOVER Chapman Estate, a Shell Beach property that is often used for fundraising events, is on schedule to get some much-needed repairs.
The estate at 1243 Ocean Boulevard was gifted to the city of Pismo Beach by owner Clifford Chapman upon his death in 2012. Chapman, who was a well-known art collector and philanthropist, purchased the property in 1962 and often used it to host fundraisers for nonprofits. Now, in non-pandemic times, the Chapman Estate is typically open for public access and occasionally used for private events.

But thanks to COVID-19, those services are on hold and the Chapman Estate is forecasted to be operating in the red by the end of this fiscal year.

“As you know, the fiscal year 2021 adopted budget for the Chapman Estate fund was balanced,” Administrative Services Director Nadia Feeser said at a Jan. 5 Pismo Beach City Council meeting. “But due to reduced entry fees from COVID-19 impacts, limiting gatherings, and the inability to rent the Chapman Estate for venues without an accessible restroom, we’re projecting a negative $28,000 ending fund balance as of the end of the fiscal year.”

To make up for the deficit and maintain regular operations at the Chapman Estate would cost the city around $50,000, Feeser said at the meeting. Then there are the bigger projects that need tackling, including electrical upgrades, fixes to leaking roofs and windows, and the installation of an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible restroom. Those repairs, Feeser said, will likely cost another $600,000.

Though Pismo Beach City Council voted unanimously in support of the projects and proposed funding for them, city officials say it’ll cover just about a quarter of the repairs and updates needed on the Chapman grounds.

“I know we toured it last month and it needs a lot of improvements,” City Councilmember Scott Newton said at the Jan. 5 meeting, “let’s just put it that way.”

According to City Manager Jim Lewis, the Chapman Estate needs about $4 million worth of repairs and ADA accessible installations before it can become the fully functioning public asset the city envisions. Much of that includes funding needed to fix the sea walls protecting the oceanside cliffs the estate is situated upon.

Lewis said the venue has never really made the city any money, and staff plan to discuss ways to turn the Chapman Estate into a revenue generator at a City Council meeting in the spring of this year. ∆

—Kasey Bubnash
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