$3M granted to restore Angel Island immigration center

The annual state budget included a one-time fund of nearly $3 million to complete the restoration of the Pacific Coast Immigration Center at Angle Island, state officials said Friday.

California Governor Jerry Brown signed the state budget Monday, which included a $2.952 million augmentation for the immigration center, according to officials with the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation.

The funding will help the foundation preserve the area’s history of immigration.

The foundation’s Executive Director Michael McKechnie said the creation of the Pacific Coast Immigration Center has been in the planning and reconstruction stages for many years:

“This funding will help open the Center with state of the art exhibits telling the stories of successes and struggle face by Pacific Coast immigrants.”

The foundation first began a campaign to raise funds for the immigration center in 2013.

The center will be house in the historic Public Health Service Hospital Building in the existing U.S. Immigration Station on the island, according to foundation officials.

The funding in the annual budget will go toward completing the in-progress restoration of the hospital building, as well as toward developing, designing and installing the exhibits at the center.

Once restorations are complete, the center will have interactive displays, rotating exhibits showcasing diverse immigrant stories from Angel Island, as well as an on-site café, foundation officials said.

Katherine Toy, president of the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation Board of Directors said this will put immigration from the Pacific on par with the far more familiar story of immigration through Ellis Island:

“As Pacific immigration continues to grow, it is critical to understand and provide a forum for discussion about both its history and the issue surrounding today’s immigration stories.”

The foundation has been working with the state’s Department of Parks and Recreation to finalize and implement the center for decades.

Over the last 40 years, the foundation has raised and leveraged more than $40 million to restore the station’s structures and to develop the exhibits.

The center is anticipated to open by Fall 2017, according to the foundation.