Saturday, February 18, 2012


Legal Action. It is "time out" for now concerning the legal action by the Sierra Club and the Presidio Historical Association - at least as far as the public is involved. For the next few months, the lawyers representing us and the Trust lawyers will be examining data and preparing their strategies. The docket of the federal court is full. It will be weeks or months before the first hearing will occur. Normally, even that first hearing is pro forma. But the process to call the Trust to account concerning environmental and historic reservation laws and regulations has begun.

Understanding History at the Presidio.  The process for detailed planning of a visitors center, which may be in the former "Burger King", later the Goldman Foundation office near the bus stop, is proceeding involving the Trust, the Park Service, and the Golden Gate Conservancy. This effort is coordinated with the planned Heritage Center, a space identified in the Officers Club for exhibits. The exact location and amount of space certainly is open to review, and we await the recommendations of Applebaum and Associates, a  high powered design firm from New York. Finally, the Trust has indicated that some space on the ground floors of one or two Montgomery Street Barracks will be available for "interpretation." Noreen Hughes, who is coordinating all this for the three agencies is planning some form of public participation after the design firm has made its recommendations. The fact that this ambitious planning is underway is encouraging. The challenges are many:  visitor experiences are broken into several places; meaningful exhibits for a diverse range of park visitors must be created; and three different agencies must find a consensus that makes sense.

What's Going to be the Contribution of the "Sports Basement?" The former large commissary building on Crissy Field, should add to the public's appreciation of the Presidio. The building has been designated in plans for public use, but that requires a tenant with deep pockets with a mission to benefit the public. Has anyone any information about the future use of the Commissary? Its wide open interior, high ceiling, seismically sound construction and climate control make it an ideal structure to convert to one or more educational experience spaces- museums, laboratories, rotating displays. For Pete's sake, how about moving a Wax Museum there with Presidio historic figures? Use your imagination. What would you like to see in that building? A really powerful natural history center that dramatically presented the decline of the Bay Area's once fabulous natural environment side by side with the growth of its human populations would be fantastic.

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