Moving to restore a dramatic nighttime view last seen on the downtown waterfront 15 years ago, the county supervisors Tuesday took the first step toward restoring year-round exterior lighting at the County Administration Center.
With a $20,000 "challenge grant" from the San Diego Gas & Electric Co. in hand, the supervisors voted unanimously to initiate a private fund-raising drive to come up with the additional $43,000 needed to purchase the light fixtures to illuminate the 50-year-old building, which this year was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The board hopes to have the relighting program completed by next July 4.
External lighting of the bayfront Spanish colonial building, started in 1969 to celebrate the city's 200th birthday, was discontinued in 1973 during the energy crisis. But, with the building getting renewed attention this year because of its listing on the historic register, local officials began studying the feasibility of reinstituting the nighttime lighting.
Tentative plans call for the building to be illuminated from sunset to about 11 p.m. daily, with operational costs estimated at $22 daily. To defray that expense, Supervisor John MacDonald suggested that certificates be sold to the public for $22 to "light the county building for a day."