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State Senator Christine Kehoe
Preservationist of the Year

Senator Christine KehoeWhile politicians are often acknowledged and honored by various groups and constituencies, SOHO has rarely bestowed a coveted People In Preservation award on a politician. This is partly because we expect our elected officials to protect, preserve and look after the cultural treasures under their care.

However, this year's Preservationist of the Year is a woman who has gone above and beyond that expected role many times as a true advocate for San Diego's historic and cultural sites. Too numerous to list right now, you just might remember this dedicated official the next time you drive the beautiful stretch of 163 through Balboa Park, that it was threatened with massive destruction and decimation until tonight's winner saved it from that horrific fate. But it is for her most recent act of stewardship that we honor her tonight.

Old Town San Diego State Historic Park is the most visited State park in California, but it's missing something important, its connection to the riverbank that gave life to the Native Americans who populated the area for thousands of years. It is the reason California's first settlement is located where it is and is the natural and historic entrance to Old Town.

A monumentally important transfer of two-and-a-half acres will remedy this shortcoming thanks to an agreement made between Caltrans and the State Parks Department, an agreement promoted, negotiated and realized through the singular efforts of our honoree. The agreement last fall to transfer land on the former banks of the San Diego River near Taylor and Juan Streets came about only because of the persuasion and perseverance over several years of this elected official from San Diego. Plans call for this key plot of land to be restored to reflect San Diego's earliest human history and native habitat, bringing representation of the Native American settlement into Old Town San Diego State Historic Park along with the Spanish, Mexican and Anglo establishments that it predates. For her deep understanding of the important role that San Diego's heritage brings to all and for her clear vision of its future being securely rooted in its past, we are pleased to honor State Senator Christine Kehoe as Preservationist of the Year.

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