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President Budgets Money to Buy Part of Santa Cruz Island


President George Bush has set aside $14.5 million in his new budget to buy part of Santa Cruz Island, the final acquisition the federal government must make for the Channel Islands National Park.

Santa Cruz Island is the only privately owned island within the boundaries of the park. Nine-tenths of the island is owned by the Nature Conservancy.

The government is negotiating for the final tenth on the eastern side, which is now owned by a Santa Barbara family, according to John Doherty, spokesman for Rep. Robert J. Lagomarsino (R-Ojai).

The idea was presented to the White House by Lagomarsino. Congress will hold hearings this spring to decide whether to appropriate the money.

The $14.5 million will be combined with another $4 million left over from previous acquisitions.

Channel Islands National Park, the 40th national park, will celebrate its tenth anniversary in March.

The Santa Cruz acquisition is the top priority for use of the $250 million set aside for park service purchases throughout the country, Doherty said.

"We are delighted we will be able to complete acquisition in the 10th anniversary year," Doherty said. "The park preserves the ecosystems that typified Southern California before the Europeans came here."

Another item in the new federal budget, one of the largest projects contained in the Pentagon's military construction budget, is a $10-million Weapons System Integration Laboratory at Port Hueneme's Naval Ship Weapons Systems Engineering Station.

The two-story building is designed to house three engineering departments and employ about 600 people. The Navy will provide space for engineers to provide technical services on ship weapons systems.

The project, fourth largest in Southern California, is expected to begin in 1992.

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