Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Put Up or Shut Up, Says the Presidio Trust

Groups including the Presidio Historical Association have been working in a consultation being conducted according to the National Historic Preservation Act. This process has reduced the size of the commercial hotel that the Trust wants to build 150 yards from the flagpole from 140,000 square feet of two story building to 70,000 square feet - sort of like trying to make us happy because only one half of our house burned down.

Our right to be part of these discussions may be denied soon. The Presidio Trust has notified all public groups that we cannot participate in these historic preservation talks after May 10, unless we agree to sign a statement that the legal requirement of the Act have been followed. In effect, we are being told to Put Up or Shut Up. The same demand was made of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Cow Hollow Association, Marina Homeowners groups and many others. It will take more time than allowed for us to find out if this demand is legal, and if so to decide what to do about it. It is inconceivable that any group would waive its legal rights in order to sit at the table to talk about the final design features for a commercial hotel that will have adverse effects on a historic landmark.

Another problem is a dispute over whether or not to keep the two ugly WW II barracks in front of the Officers Club. They are important because they tell a story. The barracks were for junior officers who crowded the Presidio during WII. Those officers slept near the original Spanish adobes where the Americans later slept. For almost 200 years, the officers of Spain, Mexico and the United States ate in the same building, and the barracks outside the officers club were there so the young officers would live near the officers mess. This is a neat story to show the layering of story on top of story at the Presidio. I think that the old barracks should stay, become used as an education space for school kids about the El Presidio site, and remain part of the story.

The hurry on this is probably related to changes on the Trust Board that are waiting for a White House decision. It's long overdue. I guess that the White House does not place the same importance on a Presidio Trust Board member as it does a Supreme Court Judge!

See the Presidio HIstorical Association website for the details.

No comments: