Stow Lake Gets a New Life

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A popular boating spot in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park is  about to begin a new era, according to the City's Recreation and Park  Department.
Building upon the Recreation and Park Commission's December  approval of a new lease for a new concessions vendor at Stow Lake, the San  Francisco Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to award the lease to Ortega  Family Enterprises.
According to a statement from the parks department, the Ortega  family has "a proven track record of turning around under-performing park  concessions and maximizing their potential."

In hopes of rejuvenating the historic Stow Lake Boathouse, the  15-year lease awarded to the Ortega family stipulates that the concessionaire  will invest $233,000 toward capital improvements to the "popular but  deteriorating" boathouse, according to the parks department.

Among the slated improvements is the construction of a new indoor  cafe area that will be built over the existing boat repair area, and the  replacement of the aging existing fleet of boats at a cost of $152,000,  according to the department.

In 2009, the Ortega family won the Marin Conservation Council's  green business award for its renovation and operation of concessions at the  historic Muir Woods National Monument.

Despite the new vendor, some boathouse favorites will remain  intact, including the menu's pink popcorn. The Ortega family will also  provide local and sustainable food options, with most items available for  between $5 and $9.

The new lease, which will provide a minimum annual rent of  $160,000 to the City, will begin in March with a potential five-year  extension.

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