Conservation Group Says Presidio Trust Plan Dictates Too Much New Construction

 
PRESS RELEASE
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date:   August 17, 2001
Contact:   Courtney Cuff, National Parks Conservation Association, 510-839-9922


Conservation Group Says Presidio Trust Plan Dictates Too Much New Construction

San Francisco, C.A. - The Presidio Trust, the unique government corporation set up to manage Presidio National Park in San Francisco, released today its draft comprehensive plan to govern future leasing and development decisions at the park. The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) welcomes the Trust’s planning effort, but expressed concern that the public’s original vision for the park is being lost.

“While we appreciate the Trust’s efforts to refine a comprehensive plan for the Presidio’s future, we are disappointed that the Trust’s preferred alternative calls for too much new construction, gives short shrift to the idea of expanding critical wetlands, and remains vague on ideals articulated in the Presidio’s enabling legislation to create a space for those entities working to help solve global problems,” said Courtney Cuff, NPCA Pacific Regional Director.

NPCA and other environmental groups have consistently supported the vision that arose through the National Park Service’s public process when the Presidio first became a park – to create at the Presidio a center for research and learning “dedicated to the world’s most critical environmental, social and cultural challenges.” Recent public comment demonstrated overwhelming support for a Presidio that employs this vision with the least amount of new construction. Though the Trust initially felt that the original vision with comparably smaller construction projections could not meet the Congressional mandate for financial self-sufficiency, they now acknowledge it can be done.

NPCA believes that the Trust should hold to a maximum of 5 million square feet of building space, rather than the 5.6 million the Trust prefers. “We are encouraged that the Trust has reduced its overall square footage from earlier proposals, but continue to consider more than half a million square feet of new construction too much for a national park,” Cuff said. “The new construction footage proposed by the Trust is greater than the size of the Trans America Pyramid.”

“We also believe the Trust should commit itself to actively seeking tenants who conform to the public vision, rather than emphasizing tenants whose sole virtue is capacity to fund the bottom line,” said Cuff. “The fundamental question is this: in ten years, will we have a park that meets the public vision or an exclusive office park or high-end housing development?” NPCA hopes to work with the Trust and the public over the next 60 days to ensure an outcome reflective of the former and not the latter.

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