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Scaffolding Signals Progress for Santa Barbara Mission Restoration

Church officials hope facade repairs will be complete by Christmas, spread word that fund raising still under way for preservation project

The face of the Santa Barbara Mission is getting a lift as crews work to repair the front of the iconic building in time for Christmas.

Scaffolding went up on the church’s outer facade last week for patch-up work that’s part of a larger restoration project.

“The scaffolding right now is to address some cracking in the previous facade restoration work that was done in 1953,” said Jason Womack, the mission's development director. “We’re now realizing that some of the work from 1953 is starting to fail.”

Worrisome cracks and water seepage caused church officials to add facade repairs to the handful of projects funded by the National Park Service’s Save America's Treasures Grant.

Womack said construction work shouldn’t hamper access for parishioners and visitors at the church, which was founded on Dec. 4, 1786.

Facade updates were not initially included among five projects to be paid for by the $1.3 million federal grant, which was awarded to the historic landmark in January 2011, Womack said.

The list of already completed projects includes installation of the solstice window above the church door and re-stabilization of the church’s crypt.

Womack said the church hopes to begin a water mitigation project for the long corridor that runs along the mission in the spring, but will likely have to scratch the fifth project — a planned effort to replace existing mortar in the old Chumash washing basin known as the Lavanderia — due to lack of funds.

Per the grant agreement, the mission must come up with $650,000 in matching funds for the work to be completed.

Womack said $250,000 is still needed before the grant expires in April 2016.

“It’s getting the word out that this is going on, if they want to be a part of preserving it,” he said. “This is a historic preservation project. It’s a community-focused project. It’s very representative of what Santa Barbara is.”

Click here to make an online donation to the Santa Barbara Mission restoration project.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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