Civilian Conservation Corps Buildings
Six simple, utilitarian and proud wooden buildings are threatened in Valley Center. They were constructed in 1933 as barracks for the Civilian Conservation Corps, which President Franklin D. Roosevelt established to give people jobs during the Great Depression. As many as 400 men lived in these clapboard buildings while they worked on WPA projects for the public good in North County. The success of the WPA is especially relevant today, when millions are unemployed and the federal government has taken a different tack to stimulate jobs and the economy.
The CCC camp closed in 1936. Its buildings were used for a variety of purposes until 1947, when the California Department of Forestry took them over. The buildings have been empty since 2006. The state declared the land surplus in 2008 and is preparing to transfer ownership to the county. This transfer holds no guarantees for the preservation of the six buildings and it remains unknown if the county will sell the property to the highest bidder, regardless of use.
So far, three local groups have expressed interest in the land and/or the buildings. In a sorry insult to the contributions of the CCC, the Valley Center-Pauma Unified School District has suggested it would like to park buses there. The other two entities, Project Wildlife, which wants to retain the buildings, and the Valley Center Parks and Recreation District, would be a better fit. The county needs to add these buildings to its historic register and find a new user who appreciates them.
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