Key Stakeholders Endorse Presidio Exchange but Urge Trust Board to Delay Crissy Field Development Decision

 
PRESS RELEASE
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date:   January 27, 2014
Contact:   Neal Desai, regional field director, National Parks Conservation Association: 415-989-9925
Amy Meyer, co-founder, People for a Golden Gate National Recreation Area: 415-221-8427
Bill Shepard, chair, Neighborhood Associations for Presidio Planning: 415-385-4111


Key Stakeholders Endorse Presidio Exchange but Urge Trust Board to Delay Crissy Field Development Decision

Lucas Museum proposal rejected as wholly inappropriate for and unrelated to prized national park land

San Francisco, CA – In advance of tonight’s Presidio Trust Board of Directors meeting, key Presidio stakeholders urged the Trust Board to delay its decision of selecting a development proposal for the Crissy Field Commissary site (current location of Sports Basement).  The National Parks Conservation Association, People for a Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and Neighborhood Associations for Presidio Planning emphasized that delaying a decision until current Doyle Drive and future Tunnel Top parkland developments are complete is the most prudent action for the site.

Joining a distinguished list of local, national, and international leaders, the groups endorsed the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy’s Presidio Exchange (PX), stating that it was the only proposal to respond to all the Trust’s planning criteria. They rejected the revised Lucas Museum proposals as wholly inappropriate in mission, purpose, and design for Crissy Field, noting that they fail to meet the express program and design criteria required by the Trust Board.

“Crissy Field is one of our nation’s most iconic public spaces for enjoyment of our natural and cultural heritage, and decisions involving it must be made with broad community support, not in response to a heavy-handed political campaign,” said Amy Meyer, a founding Trust Board member from 1997-2003 and co-founder of People for a Golden Gate National Recreation Area. “Because ongoing construction will dramatically alter the Crissy Field site in years to come, more time is needed to decide the future of this crown jewel. The Golden Gate has welcomed millions through the western entrance to the United States and is our Statue of Liberty of the west, not the place for a grandiose neo-classical monument to one person and his art.”

“The Board’s decision on how to proceed will define its legacy. Delaying a decision would affirm the Board’s commitment to the democratic purpose of these national parklands and building necessary public support,” said Neal Desai, regional field director for the National Parks Conservation Association. “The PX is the only proposal loyal to the Trust’s planning criteria, whereas the Lucas Museum proposal's program and mission are irrelevant to Crissy Field. A successful plan respects and enhances the long term vision of the park, and does not carry the stigma of being ushered in by political pressure.”

Recently, the Presidio’s philanthropic community wrote a series of letters, expressing deep concern for a decision by the Trust prior to the completion of the extensive Doyle Drive/Presidio Parkway construction. The community emphasized that analysis of traffic, parking, and visitor use would be necessary, and premature development could jeopardize the millions of dollars that have been invested in park improvements and weaken the public support necessary for future philanthropy. The National Park Service also urged a delay in a recent letter, noting the “lack of public consensus” and “obvious controversy”, while concluding that “the [Lucas] museum’s offerings could be located anywhere; therefore, the museum does not merit one of the most important sites in the entire Presidio.”

“Presidio neighbors care deeply that this national treasure retains strong public support and delaying a decision is the only way for the Board and public to make an informed decision about the site’s future,” said Bill Shepard, chair of the Neighborhood Associations for Presidio Planning. “The PX is the only proposal that offers public programs and architecture specifically designed for the Crissy Field landscape. With world-renowned partners, such as National Geographic Society, the PX would bring to life our national park for visitors ranging from neighbors to inner-city youth to international travelers.”

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