Golden Gate Park Upgrades May be Halted Forever

By Matt Baume
|  Wednesday, Jan 5, 2011  |  Updated 12:15 PM PDT
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Golden Gate Park Upgrades May be Halted Forever

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The U of I clout scandal is playing out like a playground game.

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After a firestorm of controversy engulfed plans to renovate a Golden Gate Park boathouse, preservationists may have found a way to stop any future upgrades to the park.

Under a proposal floated by the Historic Preservation Commission, the entire park would be designated a historic landmark. The Commission would then have to approve any changes made within its boundaries, and confirm that they did not adversely detract from the park's historical value.

That could severely limit the Recreation and Park Department's plans to upgrade paths, renovate buildings, and improve gardens. Currently, plans are underway to add more mobile vending carts in the park and to modernize the tennis facilities, but some historians oppose such actions. Carts and modern buildings were not part of the original design of the park, they point out.

Before the artificial park was created in the 1800s, the area was comprised of empty windswept sand dunes.

Urban planners oppose the historic designation, pointing out that park uses change over time, and that "freezing" Golden Gate Park would prevent it from meeting visitors' needs in the future.

Nevertheless, the commission plans to look busy over the next year by spending several hundred hours on a scheme for the park.

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