Plans paint new picture for art museum

Alternatives to a controversial proposal to build a modern-art museum in the historic heart of the Presidio’s Parade Ground would instead see an extensive private art collection by Gap founders Don and Doris Fisher housed near Crissy Field or in the national park’s western stretches.

The Presidio is a former military base that was designated a national park in 1994. As a condition of its preservation, the federal government requires that the 1,168-acre park become financially self-sufficient by 2013. Fisher has proposed building a 100,000-square-foot museum south of the Parade Ground, the Main Post’s principal open space to house and display his contemporary-art collection.

The plan to locate the museum at the Main Post, as recommended by Presidio staff, is opposed by some members of the public who say the design of the modern, box-shaped museum would harm the “historic character and integrity” of the Main Post, according to an environmental impact report released Monday.

The proposal also has been opposed by neighbors who said traffic in and around the Presidio could be overwhelmed by museum visitors.

Monday, the Presidio released several alternative sites for the museum. They include the current site of Sports Basement, a retail store near Crissy Field; Fort Scott in the Presidio’s westerns stretches; and the southeast corner of the Main Post.

Fisher opposes plans to build the museum anywhere other than the Main Post, “where more visitors can access the collection and where museum visitors can best access the other offerings in the Presidio,” according to a statement from spokeswoman Alexandra Krasov.

The Presidio Historical Association, however, which has led the charge against Fisher’s proposal, supports housing the collection at the Sports Basement site, according to President Gary Widman.

The Presidio Board of Directors will discuss the proposals at a hearing July 14, spokeswoman Dana Polk said.

jupton@sfexaminer.com

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