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San Francisco Finds $1.7 Million To Fix Up Coit Tower

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) - A plan to spend $1.7 million to fix up Coit Tower and restore its Great Depression-era murals has not derailed the campaign to create a dedicated source of funding for the landmark's upkeep.

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

The money will be used to preserve the murals, install a new roof, repaint the lobby, renovate the bathrooms and improve access for people with disabilities, Lee said.

KCBS' Barbara Taylor Reports:

The announcement was welcomed by both supporters and opponents of Proposition B, a non-binding policy statement on the June ballot that declares Coit Tower admission money should be spent on maintenance.

"It took a real public outcry to bring attention to the neglect and decay, but we're really pleased to see that the city has begun to take the problems at Coit Tower seriously," said Jon Golinger, leader of the Proposition B campaign.

Matt O'Grady, executive director of the San Francisco Parks Alliance that opposes the ballot measure concurred, praising the city for finding a creative way to finance much needed maintenance.

And that's where the agreement ends.

O'Grady said Prop B is still bad policy because revenue generated at Rec and Park properties such as the tower should fund improvements across the entire park system.

"It has the potential to set an unfortunate and dangerous precedent of expecting individual parks to pay for themselves," he said.

Instead, O'Grady said, preservationists concerned about the Works Progress Administration murals should support a $195 million park bond now working its way towards the ballot.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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