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State grant will help restore historic Nipomo adobe 

After applying for the California Cultural and Historical Endowment twice before, the nonprofit Dana Adobe Nipomo Amigos or D.A.N.A. received a grant award of $861,000. The money will help the group restore the 150-year-old adobe to its former glory.

Built by Captain William Dana on the expansive Mexican land grant that would one day become the modern town of Nipomo, the adobe has become a center for the study and celebration of ranch life in 19th century California. D.A.N.A. both maintains the site and hosts educational tours and cultural events at the captain's former lodgings throughout the year.

The grant will go toward restoring the adobe to the way it looked at its peak in 1851. That means completing an earthquake retrofit, expanding the building from eight rooms to 14, and installing new roofing. The nonprofit also hopes to reconstruct a barn that was originally on the property. Finally, D.A.N.A. wants to acquire a 23-acre parcel next to the 100 acres it already owns.

"We have the chance to both protect the land and to create a publicly accessible laboratory," said Alan Daurio, vice president of the board.

The California Cultural and Historical Endowment was formed through Proposition 40, which passed in 2002 and set aside $267 million for the preservation of historic and cultural resources. Proposition 40 produced a rare opportunity because grants targeted for cultural heritage are hard to find, said Herb Kandel, D.A.N.A. board president.

The endowment's funds have been awarded in three rounds. This last time around, 44 organizations from around the state competed for the grant, Kandel said.

"We were going up against operating budgets of museums in urban areas. This made it very difficult because there is a lot of politics involved," Kandel said.

The application process required the organization to travel to Sacramento, where grant administrators discussed the merits of applicants in two days of public hearings.

"We had tremendous support from our representatives. Our Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee and [state Senator] Abel Maldonado they were indispensable in providing support," said Alan Daurio, vice president of the board.

"It says a lot about the momentum that we're building in our organization, and we're so grateful," he added.

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