Historic lodge likely to miss out on seismic funding 

Historic McLaren Lodge, both a city landmark and the headquarters of the Recreation and Park Department, will lose $7 million in California bond funding for seismic renovations.

Rec and Park Project Manager Rick Thall recommended The City pull $11.9 million in funding from McLaren Lodge and a handful of other GoldenGate Park projects, including restoration of South and Middle lakes and the Children’s Playground, primarily because the projects couldn’t be finished before a grant runs out in 2010.

Instead, the funds will be spent on a wider array of restoration in the park — from the Rhododendron Dell and Murphy Windmill to repairing irrigation and adding signs — following a recent 10-0 Board of Supervisors vote on the reallocation.

When The City first received $32 million from Proposition 40 park bonds in 2004, lodge renovations were estimated at $7 million; now, they’re closer to $14 million to $18 million, Thall said.

The lodge was built in 1896 and sustained cracked plaster and collapsed chimneys in the 1906 quake and little to no damage in the 1989 quake, said historian Christopher Pollack, who calls the structure "the mothership of the park."

However, McLaren Lodge was not built to modern seismic standards, which poses a major problem, given that it houses roughly 65 city employees, Thall said.

Rec and Park will hope to secure other grant funds to pay for renovations at the lodge, but it’s one of a number of city-owned buildings that need an estimated $1.7 billion in restorative work, Thall said.

But money has been freed up to restore other historic items in Golden Gate Park, including three fountains on the Music Concourse.

More than $1.1 million will go toward the Rideout Fountain, donated by Corinne Rideout in 1924, and the two Page Fountains, donated by the widow of Charles Page in 1914. Another $1.6 million will be used to restore the Rhododendron Dell. The Spreckles Temple of Music, which has deteriorated so badly that ornamental features have begun falling from its roof, will also be repaired for $861,000.

bwinegarner@examiner.com

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