Museum plan for Presidio getting heat

The proposed contemporary art museum to house Gap founders Doris and Donald Fisher’s personal collection in the Presidio has drawn fire from a high-ranking official from the National Park Service.

In a letter sent to The Presidio Trust on April 4, National Park Service General Superintendent Brian O’Neill said Fisher’s 100,000-square-foot Contemporary Art Museum at the Presidio “would result in an adverse effect that significantly impacts the integrity of the [National Historic Landmark.]”

The Fishers’ proposal, which features a modern architectural design, was given initial approval by the Presidio Trust in January.

O’Neill’s letter was particularly critical of the decision by the Presidio Trust to house the museum at the Main Post, which has strict historical architectural guidelines.

<p>"The projects as proposed in the current undertaking are not consistent with the secretary of interior’s standards," O’Neill wrote. "Nor are they keeping with the Trust’s own planning guidelines and cultural analysis of the Main Post."

All operating decisions at the Main Post are controlled by the Presidio Trust, an organization governed by a federally appointed board, trust spokeswoman Dana Polk said.

Because the Presidio Trust is completing its environmental impact study on the museum, the organization could not comment on O’Neill’s letter, Polk said.

Representatives from the National Park Service also declined to comment beyond O’Neill’s letter.

Gary Widman, president of the Presidio Historical Association, a nonprofit that has been opposed to the museum, said in a press release that he was “pleased to see the National Park Service shares many of our objections to the Fisher Art Museum being built on the Presidio’s Main Post.”

But a spokesman for the museum said it was still early in the process.

“We feel confident that the Park Service will reconsider this initial reaction when the facts and CAMP’s proposalare fully before it for its consideration,” Kiley Russell said.

wreisman@examiner.com

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