Friday, February 25, 2011

Trust Board of Directors Approves Plan to Harm the Presidio's Historical Integrity

The Presidio Trust Directors approved a Record of Decision on February 23 to go ahead with the plan that it has been boosting contrary to 3,000 public comments that emphasized revealing the Presidio's history, not building a commercial hotel for golf tours and convention goers. The approved plan will increase demolition of historic buildings and increase new construction in the National Historic Landmark's heart, the Main Post, above the levels set in the 2002 Trust Plan. The chief feature of the new plan is a 100 plus room hotel including 70,000 square feet of new construction.

The Trust's own documents report that the plan will harm the historic integrity of the Historic Landmark. And why? What logical reason does the Trust give to harm the Landmark that law requires it to protect? The best it can come up with as an explanation is a statement that the hotel will "fulfill the longstanding goal to make the Main Post the heart of the park." Let's think about that. A commercial hotel defines the "heart" of a national historic landmark and a national park? They've got to be kidding.

Elsewhere, the Trust documents identify the Main Post as already being the "heart of the Presidio." The TRust cannot create that "heart" (whatever that means) by demolition an intrusive new construction. The Record of Decision undermines its own argument with illogical statements and vague definitions. It is a seriously flawed document.

The Record of Decision is the final step in the official Environmental Impact Statement process. Will public outrage continue to make sure this is not the final step in building a hotel in the center of the Presidio? Ask the 3000 people who wrote letters or spoke against the plan.

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