On June 11th, 2015, officials from the City of Goleta and Ty Warner Hotels and Resorts gathered to announce that the property and structure would be donated to the city. Rumors of the donation had been circulating for a while and one press conference was cancelled, but this time it happened.
It was made clear that this press conference was for media only, and all the media outlets had their reporters on the scene.
The conference was short and sweet, with a Warner rep speaking briefly. Next councilman Roger Aceves stepped up to state how he and the Warner Group had been working diligently on this and what a great day it was for Goleta. This was actually the third time an effort to save this building was made. Back in 2009, Ty Warner walked away from negotiations with the city of Goleta.
When Aceves opened it up for questions, KEYT senior reporter John Palminteri asked if all the recent attention the gas station had been getting had any sway on the decision to make the donation. Aceves denied that anything recent had helped make this happen, just that he had been working on it for years. Then he called an end to the press conference…
But before the crowd dispersed, Mayor Paula Perrotte quickly stepped up to the podium and wanted make a point of mentioning the Petition to Save the Ellwood Gas Station. She thanked all the nearly 3.000 folks that signed the petition. Ty Warner must be thanked for his generosity. A man with his resources could have done virtually anything he wanted with this building. He has shown before that he has an affinity for historic buildings, and the fact that he decided to let the citizens of Goleta decide what to do with this building is commendable.
So, that was a huge first step, but the work is just beginning. The city will officially accept the donation later this year. As we understand it, the city still needs to create a Historic Ordinance and a Landmark Committee, then they need to decide how to restore the building and how the restoration will get paid for. They also need to decide what capacity the building will be used in. We hope the city stays on this, and keeps it on the front burner, and keeps the citizens involved in the process.
Thank you goes out to not only Ty Warner but also the Pearl Chase Society, Roger Aceves, Paula Perrotte, Jim Farr, all the reporters that covered the petition story from the start and especially to the people of Goleta for standing up for a real piece of our history. Viva Goleta!