On Monday morning, we stood around the desktop at The Hope Chest Emporium and watched our president Karen McNamara type our next bid and enter the password on the bidding site we were using for the San Luis Obispo County tax auction. Our first bid of $283,200 was outbid and we were in a duel with another bidder as the close of the auction winded down, and the cost of the Atascadero Printery Building rose.

After going back and forth with the other bidder, we landed on top with a bid of $300,100, and it held. As the clock struck zero, we held our breath, waiting for action from the other bidder. When the proverbial dust settled, and we realized we had won, we jumped and cheered with high-fives and hugs.

We took a long inhale, and thought about our journey. With tears welling up in our eyes, a release of emotion surged out, followed by the realization of the long journey ahead.

Our mission is to reclaim, restore, and repurpose the Atascadero Printery Building as a multi-purpose, community-use facility. With one historic bid, we climbed into the driver’s seat and now face the long journey of restoring and repurposing the oldest building in Atascadero’s original Civic Center.

We are looking forward to taking on the next phase of our mission, but there are a few fundamental issues to consider, including boarding up and sealing the property to protect the building from the elements that have been tearing it apart for more than a decade.

From now on, we are able to dedicate our resources to an asset to our community that has a certain destiny. Brick by brick, we will work toward opening the doors of a new-old facility in honor of our community, past, present, and future.

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