Coit Tower finds funds for a facelift

Just before The City spent the weekend celebrating the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, Mayor Ed Lee dug deep into San Francisco’s coffers and announced that there was enough money left over to restore another city landmark: Coit Tower.

Lee announced on Thursday that $1.45 million left over from an old construction bond, along with $250,000 already set aside in the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department budget, would be used for maintenance and repairs at Coit Tower.

A portion of the money will be used by the San Francisco Arts Commission to repair the 210-foot tower’s interior murals, which were painted in 1934 by 27 different artists under the Public Works of Art Project.

City officials said other parts of the funding will cover the costs of a new roof, restoring the lobby to its original 1933 color, renovations of the restrooms and improve access for people with disabilities.

The City decided to allocate more funding to revamping Coit Tower after a city-commissioned report found damage to the tower and murals. The report laid out more than 100 recommendations, including replacing the roof, asbestos removal, and new protections for the murals, the largest collection of frescoes on the West Coast.

President of the Board of Supervisors, David Chiu, whose district includes Coit Tower, said:

“Now, we can move forward on the improvements that this iconic piece of San Francisco’s skyline deserves.”

The announcement of funding comes less than a week before voters will decide on Proposition B, a measure that requires the bulk of funds raised from its elevator fees and concession sales to be spent on its maintenance.

Jon Golinger, leader of the Proposition B campaign, told KTVU:

“The report is deeply disturbing, but it’s great news that the public outcry about the neglect of Coit Tower and the damage to the historic murals has finally forced the city to take the problems at Coit Tower seriously.”

The San Francisco Parks Alliance, a group opposed to Proposition B, argue that measure isn’t good for the whole park system since it could take money away from other parks that do not generate as much revenue as Coit Tower.