Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Removed Rotunda Trees to be Utilized by Historical Society

Removed Rotunda Trees to be Utilized by Historical Society
  When you travel across the Lewis Avenue bridge heading toward the Junior High, you will see a sight that most of us haven't seen in our lifetime.  The grandeur of Atascadero's Historic City Hall is a striking sight.  This jewel built as the heart of the Civic Center by Atascadero's founder, E. G. Lewis, is a magnificent work of art.  Now that the trees have been removed from the Lewis Avenue and East Mall sides of the building, also known as the Rotunda, it can stand in its original glory.
  As president of the Atascadero Historical Society my first contact with Bernards, the construction management team contracted to oversee the restoration of the Rotunda, was during an evening when they were walking around the building prior to them being awarded the bid.  They caught sight of the Atascadero Colony Museum.  I happened to be there working on a project and observed them looking curiously towards the museum so I invited them in.  This was my first introduction to them and their first contact with Historical Society.  Bernards was the only construction company that actually spoke to us about the history of the building which made a favorable impression on me.  I spoke in their favor at the City Council meeting and was pleased when their company was awarded the project.  I felt compelled to speak before the council on several occasions after that when concerns about the protection measures for the trees were viewed as a possible safety hazard for the construction crew.  The majority of our board of directors agreed the historic building could be better appreciated if it was not hidden behind the trees.
When the idea of removing the trees came to light I proposed the Historical Society would like to utilize the larger sections to be milled into lumber.  Whit's Turn Tree Care was awarded the contract to remove the trees and agreed to give wood for milling to the Society.  The lumber will be used around the Colony House Museum for future projects.  We have received some of the wood chips for use in our landscaped areas.  Another use will be as a fundraiser for the Society to raise monies to help with Atascadero's upcoming centennial in 2013.
  For the past month or so I have worked on the logistics of lining up the necessary equipment and timing with Bernards, Whit's Turn Tree Care, R. Burke Corporation and Dwight Peterson Low Bed Service to secure the wood after it was cut and move it to a storage area.  Steve Burke of R. Burke Corporation provided use of an excavator with a thumb to pick up the logs and Dwight Peterson provided the trucks and trailers to move the logs.  We are grateful to both companies for working with us to minimize our costs.  
James Wilkins is the president of the Atascadero Historical Society.  The Colony Museum is located at 6600 Lewis Avenue, mailing address: P.O. Box 1047, Atascadero CA 93423.  For more information, visit the website, www.atascaderohistoricalsociety.org or call 805-466-8341.

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