Presidio of San Francisco (November 5, 2008) — Three areas of the Presidio will be upgraded and improved, thanks to a generous grant from the S.H. Cowell Foundation. The $80,000 grant, announced this week by the Presidio Trust, will enable the Trust to rehabilitate the Presidio’s main entrance, the historic Lombard Gate; plant a new flower grove near the Lombard Gate; and replace an aging playground with an open meadow and picnic area. The grant allows for all three projects to be completed by August 2009.
“Thanks to the Cowell Foundation, we’ll be able to make a series of improvements that will give visitors and residents new ways to enjoy the park,” said Ann Ostrander, Residential Program Manager for the Trust.
The Presidio’s traditional entrance, the Lombard Gate will receive a substantial makeover. The light globes that sit atop the gate’s sandstone columns will be replaced with replicas of the original 1930s-era fixtures, which were larger and more ornate than those seen today. In addition the gate’s historic stone and iron work will be repaired. Work on the Lombard Gate is scheduled to begin in spring 2009.
A large fuchsia dell will be planted just inside the Lombard Gate, along the Presidio Promenade Trail near Letterman Drive. This location was once the site of ornamental plantings associated with the long-lost Givens Photo Studio. Today, the area is home to a commemorative display of ceramic tiles laid in honor of the staff of the former Letterman Hospital. More than 300 flowers will be planted, providing an attractive rest stop along a popular pedestrian path to the Main Post.
Finally, an outdated play area in the Presidio Terrace neighborhood will be revitalized. The old playground structure will be removed and the hilltop will be transformed into an open meadow with picnic tables and benches with views of San Francisco Bay.
Since its inception in 1956, the Cowell Foundation has made more than $220 million in grants to 3,700 organizations. The Foundation’s work today is organized around a place-based grant making strategy that aims to support communities where residents, service providers, educators and civic leaders are able to create a common vision and work effectively together to help children struggling with poverty realize their potential at home, at school and at play.
The Presidio Trust was established by the United States Congress in 1996 to oversee the Presidio of San Francisco, an urban national park located at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge. The 1,500-acre site contains expansive open space and spectacular views, a 300-acre historic forest, and rare and endangered plants and wildlife. It also comprises nearly 6 million square feet of buildings, including 469 historic structures that contribute to its status as a National Historic Landmark District.