Lease for new Coit Tower vendor approved

mike koozmin/S.f. Examiner file photoCoit Tower's extensive renovations will continue through mid-May.

mike koozmin/S.f. Examiner file photoCoit Tower's extensive renovations will continue through mid-May.

The city Recreation and Park Commission gave final approval Thursday on a lease for new vendor operations at the iconic Coit Tower, which is scheduled to reopen in mid-April following a six-month renovation.

The journey to awarding a new vendor the lease was lengthy and at times marked with heated discussion, but the approval in the Recreation and Park Commission came easy.

Commissioners voted unanimously in favor of granting a five-year lease with one three-year extension option to Terry Grimm, the owner of Anchor Oyster Bar in the Castro.

When Coit Tower reopens, the public can expect a more involved operation than in the past, including guided tours, docents and high quality items that relate to the landmark in the gift store. These upgrades contributed to the operations committee’s decision on Nov. 7 to choose Grimm as the bid winner for the contract.

An expanded food and beverage service was a point of contention for community members including the group Protect Coit Tower. A decision on that option has been delayed until after the tower reopens.

“We’re all singing from the same song book that Coit Tower should be a museum, not just another tourist attraction and that’s a welcome change and it’s very promising,” said Protect Coit Tower Chairman Jon Golinger. “Now we’re just hoping for the follow through.”

The San Francisco Arts Commission, which is heading restoration of the tower’s damaged murals, asked for an additional $100,000 for preservation efforts.

“We are pleased to support their efforts to restore and conserve the murals as evidenced by the fact the Recreation and Park Department fully funded the current $250,000 restoration, our ongoing support of over $10,000 a year for conservation, and our support of this grant application,” said department spokeswoman Sarah Ballard.Bay Area NewsCoit TowerRecreation and Park DepartmentSan Francisco Arts Commission

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