Treasure Island, passed over daily by thousands of Bay Bridge commuters, sits at the crossroads of the Bay, with spectacular views of the City, the Golden Gate, Mount Tam, and the East Bay hills. Built between 1936 and 1939 from sand and gravel and introduced to the world as the site of the 1939-40 Golden Gate International Exposition, the island spent most of its life as a military base. The Department of Defense closed the base in 1993, and the island is expected to be transferred to the City of San Francisco by the end of this year. In 1997, the state legislature and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors created the Treasure Island Development Authority (TIDA) to oversee redevelopment of the island, along with neighboring Yerba Buena Island. In 2002, TIDA issued a request for proposals for a master developer. The responding development team, the Treasure Island Community Development LLC (TICD), has proposed creation of what they call “a new neighborhood” comprising 2800 units of housing, retail stores, several hotels, and a conference center. Given the stakes involved in developing such a prime piece of real estate, the process has received surprisingly little public attention. Now, environmental and community activists would like the public to become more involved, especially in light of a recent agreement reached between the TIDA and TICD, which could limit future opportunities for public participation. Environmentalists are particularly interested in ensuring that the 10-acre storm-water treatment wetland and potential 20-acre tidal wetland contained in the draft development proposal are implemented, that the diverse remnant natural habitats of Yerba Buena Island are protected and restored, and that publicly accessible shoreline is maximized. The Treasure Island Wetlands Project is compiling an e-mail list of people interested in being notified of pending opportunities for public input—including the release of the draft environmental impact report, due by the end of 2003—as well as tours of the island. For information, contact Ruth Gravanis at email@example.com. View a copy of the draft development proposal.
Bay Nature magazine ◦ July-September 2003