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Coit Tower Reopens To Public After Six-Month Restoration

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— Coit Tower, San Francisco's iconic landmark atop Telegraph Hill, reopened to the public Wednesday after a six-month restoration.

Dignitaries, including Mayor Ed Lee, gathered to admire the $1.7 million project— overseen by the city's Recreation & Parks Department and Arts Commission. The restoration heavily focused on the 210-foot structure's murals that were originally part of the Works Progress Administration art projects in the 1930s.

Phil Ginsburg, general manager of the Rec & Parks Dept. was all smiles as he addressed a who's who of the dignitaries who attended.

"This is such a special moment and it's a moment that we should all be proud about," said Ginsburg.

Coit Tower Reopens To Public After 6 Months Restoration

Aside from the painstaking restoration of the peeling murals, Ginsburg noted water damage repairs and the roof repairs from more than a year ago that were timed to avoid peak tourist season.

"The murals pop. There's trim on the ceilings and around," he said. "It does not look like the Coit Tower that you visited a year ago. It may not look like the Coit Tower that you've ever seen. It is truly spectacular."

The preservation efforts came after Measure B passed with 54 percent of the vote in June 2012. The measure limits private and commercial use at the space and redirects concession funds to help with upkeep at the site.

The community organization Protect Coit Tower was a key supporter of the measure.

Peter O'Driscoll has been a city guide here for 20 years. His team offers tours at 11 a.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays and he said to truly appreciate the murals, you need to understand the 1930s.

"If there was a favorite one, I would say the diversity of the unemployed in the corner here where it shows all the massive unemployed men standing," O'Driscoll said.

The tower is named for Lillie Hitchcock Coit, a wealthy eccentric and patron of the city's firefighters. Firefighters BBQ in the heat to feed those who attended the ribbon cutting.

The murals were previously restored in 1989.


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