Presidio of San Francisco (September 2, 2008) — The community has another month to share their comments on proposals to revitalize the Presidio’s Main Post as a center for history, art, and culture and as a place that welcomes the public. The Presidio Trust announced today that it has extended the comment period on its Draft Main Post Update and Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (DSEIS) to October 20. The extra time gives the Trust, other historic preservation organizations, and the community an additional opportunity to consider how the birthplace of San Francisco can be commemorated alongside new amenities for visitors to the national park.
“People care passionately about the Presidio. We’ve already received approximately 1,000 comments, and 1,500 people attended our Main Post walking tours this summer,” said Craig Middleton, executive director of the Presidio Trust, the federal agency charged with preserving and protecting the military post turned national park. “We’re fortunate to have proposals on the table that would be the envy of many communities, but there are issues we need to resolve. We are excited about what the future of the Presidio’s most historic area could be, and we hope to build enthusiasm in the community as well.”
In June, the Presidio Trust released its draft updated plan for the Main Post and Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, outlining ideas for sharing the Presidio’s history and establishing new ways to use and enjoy the center of the park. The Main Post encompasses 120 acres and more than 1.28 million square feet of building space. Cornerstone ideas include: establishing a Heritage and Archaeology Center in the Officers’ Club at the site of the original fort; creating the park’s first lodge; and rehabilitating and expanding the long-closed Presidio Theatre. The proposal that has received the most attention is for a contemporary art museum housing Donald and Doris Fisher’s renowned collection of works from the 20th and 21st centuries. The museum would be a new cultural anchor for the national park. A proposal to transform the Main Parade Ground, a 7-acre parking lot, into a new public open space was decided last summer.
The Trust is exploring the challenging historic preservation issues with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, the State Historic Preservation Office, and the National Park Service, including how new construction and additions to historic buildings could successfully be carried out on the Main Post. Issues to be considered include the design and location of the proposed museum. This process, governed by Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, was also followed when the Letterman Digital Arts Center was being considered to replace the decommissioned Letterman Hospital in 2001. The Section 106 consultation meetings began last November and will continue later this month. Other organizations participating in the consultation are:
National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP)
Presidio Historical Association (PHA)
Sierra Club (SC)
Descendents of the Portola and Anza Expedition (DAPE)
National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA)
San Francisco Architectural Heritage (SFAH)
People for a Golden Gate National Recreation Area (PGGNRA)
Neighborhood Associations for Planning at the Presidio (NAPP)
Cow Hollow Association (CHA)
Laurel Heights Improvement Association (LHIA)
The proponents for the three major projects (the contemporary art museum, the lodge, and the Presidio Theater) will also participate in the consultation.
The Presidio Trust has scheduled a second public board of directors meeting to take comments on the proposals. The meeting will be held on Tuesday, October 14, at 6:30 pm, at the Palace of Fine Arts theatre, 3301 Lyon Street. More than 700 people attended the first public hearing held on July 14.
Input received during the public comment period and the feedback from the Section 106 historic preservation process will be used by the Trust board to make its final decision, expected towards the end of the year.
The Presidio Trust is also hosting three workshops to provide additional opportunities to the public to discuss the Draft Main Post Plan and Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement. The workshops will also provide a forum to discuss further the kinds of activities that the public would like to see in the Main Post in the future.
Thursday, September 25, 6:30 to 8:30 pm, Presidio Officers’ Club, 50 Moraga AvenueSunday, September 28, 2 to 4 pm, Presidio Officers’ Club, 50 Moraga AvenueThursday, October 2, 6:30 to 8:30 pm, Golden Gate Club, 135 Fisher Loop
The draft plan, Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, and other documents are available at. Comments are welcomed through October 20 firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Presidio Trust was established by the United States Congress in 1996 to manage the Presidio of San Francisco, a former army base located at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge. The 1,500-acre site contains the infrastructure of a small city as well as expansive open space, a 300-acre historic forest, spectacular views, and rare and endangered plants and wildlife. It comprises nearly 6 million square feet of buildings, including 469 historic structures that contribute to its status as a National Historic Landmark District, making it unlike any other national park. The Main Post includes 128 buildings and magnificent open spaces with views of the city, the Bay, and the Marin headlands. In establishing the Trust, Congress mandated that it make the park financially self-sufficient by 2013. The Trust is the only federal agency with this mandate.”