Note from the City of Atascadero

The New Year promises to bring many reasons to celebrate our community and we have two very special centennial celebrations planned that will span the entire the year. The festivities will begin mid-February, when we celebrate legendary photographer and Atascadero resident Joe Schwartz's 100th Birthday and then again in July, when we can anticipate the re-opening of our beloved historic City Hall building.

In February, we will celebrate Schwartz's life and career. From the 1930s to the 1970s, Joe captured the everyday lives of "economically dispossessed" ordinary folks living in the slums or housing projects of Los Angeles and New York. His photos of racially mixed people were considered too controversial to sell, prior to the civil-rights movement, however, in the last decade, his prints are being sold for as much as $5,000. Schwartz describes himself as a folk photographer, and although his work was considered documentary photography when he started out, his work is now considered fine art. For information about Joe's work, please go to:

In July, our administration building, a registered state and national historic monument originally completed in 1918, is slated to re-open. Since October 2010, we have been working diligently to repair the building to modern safety standards and to restore the building to its original glory. With the generous funding for the reconstruction granted by FEMA, we have been able to meet the milestones of this project that is so dear to the heart of our community. The roof tile at the top dome and the replacement of the upper drum brick is complete, and in the lower rotunda, the decorative ceiling painting is underway. Next, the masons will focus on the lower façade brick that will continue into 2013.

In the coming year, our community can reflect on how our founding father Lewis wanted the Colony of Atascadero to be California's first master planned, sustainable and progressive community. The double-domed rotunda of our City Hall that once symbolized sustainability and progressiveness, will once again stand for the same optimism and cohesiveness that has made our community what it continues to be today. I look forward to celebrating these joyful milestones with you as a community in the coming New Year and to see you at the festivities.

Wishing you happiness, good health, & prosperity in the New Year,

Wade McKinney
City Manager of Atascadero, California

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