The Presidio Trust, the federal corporation in charge of San Francisco's Presidio, released its latest plan for a major waterfront park project Wednesday, taking one more step towards a 2018 completion date.
The new proposed conceptual design for the Presidio Parklands Project shows where all the paths through the park will run and the panoramic views to which visitors will be treated when the project is finished.
One of the key features of the latest round of plans is a reworking of the design for the site's communal meeting place, known as a "Zocalo." The reworked design now includes a fire pit for such activities as late night talks by park employees and star-gazing. With its 360-degree view that will include the San Francisco Bay, the city and the redeveloped Presidio park, Trust representatives predict the Zocalo will be popular with the public.
"We've created a place for the community where they would want to hang out," Michael Boland, chief of planning, projects and programming for the Presidio Trust, says.
The Zocalo looks like it might be an ideal spot for weddings and parties, but Boland says the space will not be made available for private events.
"So many people are going to be at the park, we don't feel like we can really close off pieces of it from the public," Boland says.
The release of the conceptual design comes the day before the project's third public feedback meeting, which takes place Thursday evening at the Presidio Observation Post. The project has scheduled through the end of July a total of five meetings for residents to provide their input.
Boland says that this project is generating more public feedback than any project he has ever witnessed to date.
"We wanted to have the public deeply involved in the project because we wanted it to be relevant to a broad cross-section of people in our community," Boland says. "The only way you can make that happen is to actually talk to them."
All this input has been beneficial for the design, Boland says.
The Presidio project architect firm, James Corner Field Operations, incorporated an extensive public feedback process when the firm worked on New York City's beloved High Line park, which was built on an elevated, disused section of the New York Central Railroad system.
And the firm is taking feedback on the Presidio development equally seriously. So far, notes from the Bay Area community have lead to such changes to park plans as reducing the amount of grass and incorporating an installation honoring the Presidio's military past.
After Thursday night's public board meeting, The Presidio's field operations team will start to explore the design in more depth. They will work out such details as the exact measurements of pathways and structures, and estimated total construction costs.
Though Boland was unable to provide a potential price tag for the project Thursday, the Trust has given itself a fundraising goal of $49 million, $35 million of which has already been raised.