The Colusa Heritage Preservation Commission said that it will not stand in the way of the demolishment of the old Stokes Building on 8th Street, should the City Council eventually approve construction of a cannabis manufacturing company on the historic site. The commission serves as an advisory body to the Colusa Planning Commission and City Council on municipal heritage preservation matters, and can block the demolishment of buildings by declaring them historic landmarks, officials said.
“There is a provision in the (city’s) ordinance that if a building of historical significance, more than 50 years old, which most of the town is – (plans) to be demolished, then it comes to us first,” said Jim White, Commission chairman.
W.C. Stokes operated a machine shop in the tin building on the corner of 8th and Main for about 75 years. The building was also home to a tractor dealership, said HPC member Jon Wrysinski.
The building, currently used as a taxidermy shop, is also historically connected to the property that was the Colusa junction of the Colusa & Lake Railroad, which operated from 1887 to 1915 as a passenger, freight, and mail service from Colusa to Sites. The railroad’s wooden roundhouse, which stood immediately south of the Stokes building, remained in place and was used by Bill and Bob Stokes for many years until it slowly deteriorated. The roundhouse was torn down around 2009, and the wood salvaged for a variety of historical purposes, Colusa officials said.
California Cannabis Cultivation Greenceuticals LLC has proposed a $5 million, 17,000 sq. ft., all-indoor growing facility for that location and currently has an offer on the property. Dave Mann, Greenceuticals CEO, and Michael Yong are partners in a company called Simply Growz, a cannabis growing operation and hydroponics supply business in North Bonneville, Wash., which has been around for about two years.
Mann told the Colusa City Council in an earlier presentation that the business would immediately create 15 jobs of varying pay-scales, and that Greenceuticals was projecting $3 million in profits in the first year of operation.
The Colusa Planning Commission and the City Council, as well as city residents, have been divided on allowing marijuana cultivation in the downtown.
The Colusa Planning Commission rejected Greenceuticals’ development agreement with the city, and the matter is expected to heard again by the City Council, which has already welcomed two cannabis facilities to the city as a way to replenish the their dwindling coffers.
Big Moon Sky, which currently operates out of a portable trailer next door to the Stokes building, has received a green light to move into another historic building at 208 6th Street, which housed Sierra Florists prior to their recent move to a location on Market Street.
The building, next door to the Will S. Green house, is located on the original site of Green’s historic Colusa Sun newspaper, founded in 1862, which merged with the Colusa Herald in the mid-20th century.
The Colusa Heritage Preservation Commission, which has purview over that building, as well as the Stokes Building, will recommend to the Colusa Planning Commission, as their only requirement, that Big Moon Sky paint the building to reflect the historic architecture of the structure before moving to that location.
As for the Stokes Building, the Historic Preservation Commission will recommend to the Planning Commission, should the Greenceuticals project move forward, that the company paint a mural on the side of the new building that depicts not only the Stokes Machine Shop but the Colusa & Lake Railroad’s roundhouse.
The HPC said the Stokes family remains in the area, and that a mural would be a fitting tribute to one of Colusa’s historic businesses. ■