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Huntington Beach disbands committee tasked with helping to preserve Historic Wintersburg

Huntington Beach disbands committee tasked with helping to preserve Historic Wintersburg
The Huntington Beach City Council voted to disband a city-sponsored committee tasked with helping to preserve the Historic Wintersburg property, including the 1912 home of Charles Mitsuji and Yukiko Furuta. (File Photo)

A city-sponsored effort to protect Historic Wintersburg, a Huntington Beach site with ties to early-1900s Japanese American history, officially ended this week — but local preservation activists promised to continue the effort.

On a 6-1 vote Monday, the City Council disbanded the Historic Wintersburg Preservation Task Force, which was created in 2012 to collect funding to help preserve or relocate the buildings on the 4.4-acre property at Warner Avenue and Nichols Lane amid talk that they were going to be razed.

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Historic Wintersburg consists of six structures, including a Depression-era Japanese Presbyterian mission. The Furuta family sold the property to Rainbow Environmental Services — now Republic Services — in 2004.

The Wintersburg committee formally met until about 2017, when it became an independent group of residents who continued to meet to discuss the site.

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A city staff report advised the council to disband the group to “avoid any further confusion” about its status.

Councilwoman Jill Hardy, who served as a liaison to the committee, cast the dissenting vote Monday. She previously expressed disappointment when there was talk in 2018 of redeveloping the land for public storage. She did not comment Monday.

Mary Urashima, chairwoman of the task force, wrote a letter dated Monday thanking the council for creating the committee. Urashima said she would continue working with local and national partners to preserve the property.

Funding for new homeless shelter

In other business Monday, the council approved an amendment to its 2018-19 action plan, setting aside federal funding to help pay for the city’s planned homeless shelter at 15311 Pipeline Lane.

Following the 6-1 vote — with Mayor Erik Peterson dissenting — $223,607 of Community Development Block Grant funding and $641,905 of revolving loan funds will be allocated for the 75- to 90-bed shelter. Peterson also voted no last month when the council authorized spending $2.85 million to buy an 11,200-square-foot structure for the shelter.

A budget transfer of about $125,000 from two of the city’s loan programs also will be allocated for the shelter.

Kellee Fritzal, the city’s deputy director of economic development, told the council the amendment wouldn’t eliminate any city projects or programs.

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