New Presidio Parklands Project with Elaine Jackson-Retondo

Hi Everyone! At the NPS Pacific West Regional Office we have wrapped up the Discover SF! Youth Heritage Program. The students loved learning about their home city and I enjoyed learning about San Francisco alongside them. I truly had a blast visiting and learning so much about this city by the bay! Upon wrapping up the youth program, my supervisor, Elaine Jackson-Retondo introduced me to the New Presidio Parklands Project, a project currently underway at the Presidio of San Francisco, which also happens to be a National Historic Landmark. The opportunity for this large-scale project at the Presidio was born from the removal and reconstruction of an elevated highway that had intersected the Presidio for seven decades. The reconstruction of the highway at a lower level allows the vehicular traffic to be hidden in tunnels, creating ‘new’ open space on top of the tunnels through which the SF Bay waterfront could be better integrated with the Presidio’s historic core.

Image courtesy of: newpresidioparklands.org/

Image courtesy of: newpresidioparklands.org/

Elaine and I visited the New Presidio Parklands Project Design Lab where we reviewed and discussed the designs, models, and input from the public regarding the proposed project. Similar to my story, Elaine had a background in architecture before she chose to pursue a career in history and historic preservation. Naturally, our discussion on the different design concepts on display is a memorable one.
Design Lab, Image courtesy of: newpresidioparklands.org

Design Lab, Image courtesy of: newpresidioparklands.org

  Elaine heads the History Program and the National Historic Landmarks Program for the Pacific West Region and her many duties include providing a wide range of technical assistance in historic preservation and cultural resource management. Through this project and other current projects in the region, Elaine has exposed me to the role the National Park Service plays in communities seeking to conserve significant histories and heritage. Representing the National Park Service, Elaine objectively consults with communities throughout the Pacific West Region on a range of cultural resources projects like inventories, documentation, evaluation, Section 106, NEPA, National Register and National Historic Landmark nominations. Without a doubt shadowing, discussing, and experiencing Elaine’s passion for historic preservation has been one of the highlights of my internship. I admire her dedication and commitment to the preservation and conservation of the history and heritage of the Pacific West Region.

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