Living Coast Discovery Center to close

CHULA VISTA, Calif. - The Living Coast Discovery Center, also known as the Chula Vista Nature Center, is closing its doors.

The nonprofit Center announced Tuesday that it was forced to make the decision due to a $200,000 budget shortfall.

If the amount is not received or pledged in the coming weeks, the Center will be forced to close to the public at the end of the month.

"Though we have started to make headway with new educational programming and collaborative research, it would be fiscally irresponsible for us to continue operations without knowing when or if we will see any financial relief," said Ben Vallejos, the Center's chief operating officer.

The facility, which opened in Chula Vista in 1987, was set to close in June 2009, but was transitioned to an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit. The transition allowed the Center to stay open.

All of the 350 plant and animal species native to Southern California will also be relocated to new homes.

"We are all saddened by the news, not only because the Living Coast will no longer be able to inspire the community to care for the environment and our local plants and animals -- but because we had such a bright future ahead of us," said Sherry Lankston, guest experience manager at the Center. "It is heartbreaking to know that a place like this will not be here for our children and our children's children."

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