Maintenance of Coit Tower

(KTSF by Sean Au)

San Francisco residents are used to seeing a multitude of ballot measures in local elections. However, this June they will see the fewest number of propositions in 16 years that they will need to decide.

Proposition B would change the way revenue generated by the Coit Tower is managed and would limit the commercial use of the San Francisco landmark.

Coit Tower has become an iconic structure and a popular tourist site. Built in 1933, the murals inside were completed a year later by a group of artists. They depict scenes of American life in the Great Depression. The tower is situated in Pioneer Park, which is under the Parks and Recreation Department. Revenue from the tower comes from the concession stand, gift shop and admission fee for the elevator to the top of the tower. It amounts to $600,000 each year. Park and Rec decides how to spend this.

Proposition B would also strictly limit commercial activities and private events at Coit Tower and use funds the City receives from the tower concession operations for preserving the murals, maintaining the tower and beautifying Pioneer Park.

San Francisco Sierra Club Political Chair John Rizzo argues, “Coit Tower here is the one of the worst examples of the City’s mismanagement of San Francisco’s parks. The idea that we should destroy a park in order to support other parks is just ridiculous.”

San Francisco Parks Alliance is against the measure. The group’s Executive Director Matthew O’Grady emphasizes that out of more than 200 parks in the City, only a handful are able to generate revenue. The revenue from Coit Tower helps other parks to be maintained with funds that are increasingly hard to come by from the City. “(Proposition B) will start to set the expectation that our parks should individually pay for themselves,” says O’Grady. “There are only a handful of parks in San Francisco that actually generate revenue.”

Proposition B is a non-binding measure.

(Copyright 2012 KTSF. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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