WATSONVILLE -- The Pajaro Valley Historical Association made a little history of its own Thursday, breaking ground for a new archive.
The Borina Archive and Alzora Snyder/Jane Borg Research Center -- named after a major financial contributor and two longtime volunteers -- is expected to open in the fall of 2013. It will nearly triple the space available for the association's extensive collection.
"When we started I didn't know how we were going to do it," said past president Judy Doering-Nielsen, after setting aside the shovel she used for the ceremony. "I was standing here thinking, 'We did it. We are actually building an archive.'"
Founded in 1940, the association is headquartered in the 1870s Bockius-Orr house on East Beach Street. Its archives sit behind the Victorian in a double-wide trailer, crammed to capacity and beyond with vintage photographs, memorabilia and historic documents.
Archive coordinator Regan Huerta can hardly wait to move into the new building. She points to boxes under her desk and jokes it will be nice to have a place to put her feet.
"We get more things weekly," Huerta said. "People keep bringing things in -- and we want them to."
The archive is also a busy place, with an average of 15 visitors each week researching local businesses, family histories and the region's past. Thursday, tables were filled with enlargements of photographs for a display at Saturday's celebration of Santa Cruz County's Branch
"It's being used, well used," Huerta said of the archive.
The association purchased an adjacent property for the new archive. Initially, Leaders planned to remodel the one-story house that came with the land, but discovered for the price of shoring up the foundation to handle the weight of an archive and fixing up the interior, they could build from scratch. The house has been rented to provide income.
Association leaders said they'll spend $270,000 to build the 2,200-square-foot archive. The property cost $600,000.
The Borina Foundation kicked off a $1 million fundraising drive for the project in 2009 with a $400,000 matching grant. To date, the association has raised more than $880,000. Leaders said another $80,000 is needed to cover the cost of furnishing the building and for equipment.
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