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$30,000 restoration begins on vandalized Santa Barbara Mission

Even though some of the red paint smeared across Old Mission Santa Barbara has already been removed, one historian says it will still take time and a lot of money to restore the vandalized mission.

Crews are beginning the restoration process after graffiti was discovered across the facade of the church and convent buildings Wednesday morning. The Mission’s fragile sandstone and adobe walls make removing the paint a challenge.

“It does take some time, you’re not gonna sandblast it off,” says Nicole Hernandez, the Urban Historian of the City of Santa Barbara Community Development.

While the Mission uses its own contractors for repairs and restoration, Hernandez’s department helps during the process. She says Wednesday’s vandalism must be removed carefully.

“There are some excellent graffiti-removal products designed just for restoration,” Hernandez said. “Stone is very porous, so these products really help leach out the paint from deep within the stone.”

Damaged windows can also be replaced. It seems the concern is less about the repairs themselves, and more about the time and cost required.

“It’s just time, and the expense is gonna be hard,” Hernandez said. “We’ll help them get all they need to do a restoration and repair as quickly as possible.”

The Mission is scheduled to host a wedding this Saturday. The Mission staff hope to restore as much as possible before then.

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