Santa Cruz Mission State Historical Park, which was on the state's cutting block along with 70 other parks, has been saved, according to State Parks Director Ruth Coleman.
She made the announcement along with State Natural Resources Secretary John Laird Saturday morning at the Mission, while hundreds of volunteers came out to spruce the place up.
Coleman said she had worked out a three-year deal with the nonprofit Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks to maintain the grounds, since the state won't pay anymore.
"How do you turn this story of scarcity into one of abundance?" asked Coleman, adding that other communities are also stepping up to save their parks.
Former Santa Cruz Mayor John Laird, who was later a state legislator, spoke about his frustration in the legislature with trying to pass legislation to raise motor vehicle license fees to raise money for the parks, and having it shot down.
And then ending up in charge of the parks.
People from all over the Bay Area turned up to work, including a big contingent from PG&E, which has made park preservation a company priority.
Dennis Hostetter, 64, of Santa Cruz, looked like a friend of Huck Finn as he painted a wall. He was a docent at the park a long time ago and is now a retired teacher at Harbor High. He was enjoying the labor.
"I love my community and am happy to give back," he said.