San Juan Bautista is a historic place and we are glad the
federal government recently recognized that fact.
San Juan Bautista is a historic place and we are glad the federal government recently recognized that fact.

Earlier this month San Juan Bautista was selected to be a “Preserve America” community, a designation that not only recognizes the town’s unique history but also its efforts to protect its heritage, to use its historic resources for economic development and to educate people about local history.

We expect San Juan Bautista city leaders to work with residents to get the most out of this designation.

Although it doesn’t have Alcatraz or the Alamo, San Juan Bautista has a lot to offer tourists and we feel this is an important part of the city’s economy.

Lately, however, that historic character hasn’t led to huge financial dividends. A number of business owners have said tourist traffic through town has dropped off in recent years.

In that light, we hope the city continues to seek out and evaluate new sources of revenue.

The city can now apply for Preserve America grants, which means there could be federal funding for restoration of some of the town’s historic buildings.

Few federal dollars seem to trickle down to our small county, so now that we have America and the federal treasury on the hook, we suggest taking full advantage of the $10 million made available nationwide under these grants.

Every penny San Juan Bautista can squeeze from these grants should be used for revitalizing or renovating historic sites with a goal of increasing tourism.

It should also be noted here that renovating historic landmarks and homes in San Juan Bautista will only do so much to attract visitors.

At the same time, the city must aggressively advertise the one-of-a-kind wonders that can only be found in the Mission City.

That being said, San Juan Bautista officials and residents also need to look at the bigger picture when planning for this fair town.

The “Preserve America” designation and any subsequent grant dollars the city gets are great, but are not enough to stake a claim for the city’s future on.

Relying too much on tourism can be dangerous in tough economic times, especially when the price of gasoline keeps rising.

It’s time to take a hard look at the future of this town. San Juan Bautista is one of the many gems of our county. Let’s make sure it stays that way by planning for the future, looking past tourism to new economic engines.

Encouraging rural businesses such as large organic farms or agricultural science companies could provide a stable backbone for San Juan’s economy. Such businesses would readily fit in with the city’s character and rural landscape.

To be sure, we are not suggesting the city open its doors to a slew of profit-hungry developers. San Juan Bautista must preserve its historic character.

But other options must be considered. Agriculture is a San Juan Bautista staple, but as we have seen, farmers and growers can have bad years.

In order to update and maintain the community’s infrastructure it is necessary to revitalize San Juan Bautista’s economy.

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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