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Historic status backed for Norco naval buildings

By in Press Enterprise on February 10, 2018

By Imran Ghori

A decade-long bid to win historic status recognition for a Norco property is now closer to reality.

The California State Historical Resources Commission has voted unanimously to support Norco’s efforts to get a World War II-era naval hospital and missile research laboratory in the city on the National Register of Historic Places.

“It’s a huge turnaround,” Norco Councilman Kevin Bash said of the Feb. 2 vote. “This has been 10 years in the making.”

A previous attempt to get the building recognized was rejected in 2013 after a Navy survey disagreed with the city on whether the property merited inclusion.

This time, the city undertook its own effort, hiring a a consultant who spent three years documenting the history and compiling thousands of records along with support from historic preservation groups.

“We did more research and we looked more carefully into the history of the property,” said Bill Wilkman, the cultural resources consultant hired by the city. “We were able to find quite a bit of information that supported the notion that it was historically significant.”

The nomination now goes to the federal preservation officer for the U.S. Navy and the Keeper of the Register for the National Register of Historic Places who must sign off before it is listed.

Bash said it’s not clear how long that process will take, but city officials are seeking the support of members of Congress and the Senate to lobby for the approval.

“This is about recognizing a property, honoring the events and people that did so much on that property,” Bash said.

Wilkman, who was paid about $30,000 to complete the research and wrote a 250-page nomination report, called the property a “time capsule of World War II history.”

The property includes the only surviving War War II hospital in California and is only one of six permanent naval […]    

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