Those opinions came in the form of 99 people who signed up to speak before the Presidio Trust’s board of directors and included business leaders, environmentalists, residents and even a rapper: MC Hammer.
Of the plans, the Golden Gate Conservancy’s event center project received the most support, followed by a museum proposal by “Star Wars” creator George Lucas. A large number of speakers simply asked the Trust to delay the process or do nothing.
In addition to the Conservancy’s and Lucas’ plans, the Bridge/Sustainability Institute is proposing a sustainability-themed ecological center on the site of a current sporting goods store on Presidio land.
Neal Desai, Pacific Region associate director of the National Parks Conservancy Association, spoke in support of the Conservancy’s Presidio Exchange and added that the process should include thorough “community support, not heavy-handed campaigns carrying in the stigma of political pressure.”
“This decision is not about what George thinks; It’s about what you think, what I think and what the public thinks,” he said.
Others vocally backed the Lucas plan, which would house his vast art collection.
“I am here to support the local culture arts museum,” said tech investor Ron Conway. “I do not know [Lucas]; I have never seen a ‘Star Wars’ move. What I do know is that the Bay Area deserves to have this museum in the Presidio.”
Earlier proposals from all three teams, unveiled in November, were rejected by the Presidio Trust as too big or not suitable for the setting in the national park. The Trust asked for new designs to be submitted by Jan. 17.
In response, the Presidio Exchange cut its proposal in half to nearly 55,000 square feet. Lucas’ team submitted two bids, one as a two-story building above a garage and another single-story alternative designed to accommodate concerns posed by archeological sites.
All three revisions were presented Monday night.
The National Park Service told the Trust it should hold off on any decision for at least a year so as to come up with a more developed idea.
The federal body in charge of the Presidio requested proposals in November 2012 to take advantage of the eventual linking of Crissy Field to the former military base’s center, the Parade Ground. The Presidio Trust’s criteria were that the proposals had to fit in with the park’s aesthetics, serve as a cultural institution and recognize the area’s history.
The Monday meeting will not be the last time the public can comment on the issue. No decisions were made by the board before press time.